Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Historical Novel Society Conference

I'm a huge fan of the conferences hosted by The Historical Novel Society. The next is taking place in London over the weekend of Friday 5, Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 September  on the campus of the University of Westminster.

These conferences which alternate yearly between the UK and the States draw the creme de la creme of top international writers who are experts in their specific era of historical writing.

Guests of honour this year include Elizabeth Chadwick, author of 20+ historical novels and winner of a Betty Trask Award. Con Iggulden, one of today';s most successful authors of historical fiction. Jerome de Groot, expert in contemporary historical fiction and Kate Forsyth, one of Australia's favourite novelists and award winning author of more than 20 titles.

Conference sessions include BOOK VIDEO TRAILERS - How to make Attention-Grabbing book trailers; THE PERILS AND PITFALLS OF WRITING 20th CENTURY HISTORY - Advice & Top Tips; FIGURES OF SPEECH - Recreating Past Voices - Methods and Approaches; RESEARCH RAPTURE - Making the Most of Your research Hours.

Also in attendance are booksellers, agents, publishers and a cross section of journalists. One of the most popular sessions are the pitches to agents, when aspiring writers can pitch their work to an agent of their choice.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


Why, oh why don't our government protect our artistic heritage?

Recently Edna O'Brien's childhood home in Co Clare was withdrawn from auction after failing to meet its guide price and is being sold by private treaty - to whom is not clear. According to reports O'Brien was stunned to hear it had gone for auction, saying she 'loved the place'. There is probably not much to love now as it's reduced to a crumbling ruin with an overgrown garden. But it could be turned into a museum or a writer's retreat, a fitting way to honour one of Ireland's greatest modern writers

Eileen Gray's  E1027 in Rocquebrune Cap Martin is regarded as one of the most iconic houses of the 20th century.  When Le Corbusier refused to remove the eight sexually explicit murals he'd painted on the'pristine white walls', Eileen Gray left the house, never to return. The Irish government passed up on the opportunity to buy it. It is now in the hands of  the French state, acquired in 1999 through the national agency 'Conservatoire du littoral' and the murals more than gray's designs are prime items for protection.

Monday, July 7, 2014


Even the most assiduous of emerging writers appear to fall flat on their writing face when the sun emerges. Over the course of the summer, I've met many of the writers I work with, both in person and online. The chat has generally concerned non-production. No writing, difficulty with words, words not coming, hitting a blank wall, writer's block - the list goes on and on. By the way, those excuses don't exist in the early stages of a writing career. All it means is that writers who are supposed to be writing are not.

We writers are good with commandments:
1. Work on one project at a time until it's finished
2. Don't even be tempted to start another project until you're finished the first draft of your current work
3. Work no matter what your mood - joyous, calm, sad, happy, angry
4. Work to your programme - not your mood - Note: Have a daily programme, say 2 hours or 1000 words
5. When you can't create, you can work.
8. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude
9. Forget what you want to write. Think only of your current project
10. Write first and always. Friends, Wine. Music. Theatre. Films - come after