Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Baker’s Missing Breeches

When a Folkestone baker fell foul of a confidence trickster it was not so much a case of the wrong trousers as the missing ones! But what really happened … and who was telling the truth? Fascinating, dangerous and dirty, … Continue reading

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Diaries: a Treasure Trove

I recently gave a workshop during Canterbury Festival on diaries and how they can help writers as sources of both inspiration and research. If you are thinking of writing fiction in the first person, a diary could provide a convenient … Continue reading

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Murder, Martyrdom and the Quest for Bones

As the sun was setting late in December, four armed men strode through the Cathedral precincts determined to arrest one of the country’s most powerful men – or, at least, teach him a lesson. They had probably been drinking and … Continue reading

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From Independence to Exile: The Extraordinary Story of Sir Oliver Goonetilleke (Part 1)

The Road to Independence Nine years of researching the background to my novel The Devil Dancers introduced me to some fascinating historical characters. One of the most remarkable was Sir Oliver Goonetilleke, one of the key architects of Ceylon’s Independence … Continue reading

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Richard III’s mysterious son

The discovery of King Richard III’s remains in a Leicester car-park has had many repercussions. Most recently, DNA tests have revealed ‘false paternity’ on Richard’s male side. This is explained by an act of infidelity by one of Richard’s ancestors. … Continue reading

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Brideshead Reconsidered

Reading a book after seeing its eponymous film or TV version is an interesting experience. You may discover hidden depths in the literary parent or, alternatively, realise that a gifted director has employed alchemy to turn base-metal into gold. Having … Continue reading

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15 Top Tips for Book Festival gigs

Be clear about your objectives. What do you want from your book festival appearance? Publicity, book sales, a chance to communicate with your readers? Use objectives to plan your strategy. Will you be paid? Be sure to discuss this with … Continue reading

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Kent’s illustrious exiles: Sir John Kotelawala

When a character, encountered only in books, suddenly steps off the page, it is an electrifying experience. Nothing prepares you for that moment when the bare bones of history suddenly acquire flesh. You do not know where the discovery will … Continue reading

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The Sissinghurst view of World War II

I recently read a Tweet from a bookseller which asked readers if they had adopted a book recently. It was one of those simple, but leading questions that started me thinking.  Yes, I thought. I have ‘adopted’ quite a few … Continue reading

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A Neapolitan Christmas – in Kent

An extraordinary adventure began 17 years ago when I first met my friend Maria. I had been planning to go and work in Italy and learn the language but, instead, Italy – or rather Naples – came to me. Introduced … Continue reading

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