Posts By Carmen

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Cross My Heart wins Angus Book Award 2015

  I had a fantastic time at the Angus Book Awards lately. First of all there was dinner in the amazing Coutts Court, a 17th century townhouse in the heart of Montrose run by host-with-the-most, Marshall. It’s always brilliant to meet and hang out with other authors and I very much enjoyed the time spent with Chris Priestley, CJ Flood and Alan Gibbons. On award day, I gave one talk about Cross My Heart at Montrose Academy and then another in Montrose Town Hall. ...

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Is 45 the new 15?

#140078700 / gettyimages.com   Is 45 the new 15? I only ask because I honestly haven’t felt so ‘in between’ since I was a teenager. To start with, there’s all that moody existential questioning: What am I going to do with the rest of my life? Can I make a difference? What is it all about? Does anyone even care? Then there’s the image crisis as my grown-up body, which I’d become quite accustomed to, begins to make dramatic changes: wider waistline, grey hairs, ...

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Editing The New Project

I’ve been very busy with The New Project. I have typed ‘The End’ three times now. But that’s never enough. I’m quite sure that about fifty per cent of the work I do on a book happens after I’ve typed The End for the first time. Editing is the process of going back and having another long, hard look at what you’ve written, then reading and re-reading and re-working pretty much everything. Editing involves taking large chunks out and re-writing them again ...

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The long wait for a second baby, for Mumsnet

To support the Mumsnet campaign for better Miscarriage Care, here’s my story: I had a beautiful toddler son and all I wanted was a brother or sister, a longed for second baby, to complete our little family - three pregnancies later, my daughter finally arrived. Even years afterwards, my children are 16 and 12 now, it’s still sad to think of that very difficult time. I had my first miscarriage at 12 weeks and my second, the following year at 13 weeks, ...

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Take care, girls with phones

  The fire safety officer came to visit my daughter’s school yesterday. She made me hoot with laughter re-telling the best moments of the visit and she passed on some actually pretty essential fire prevention advice. Every girl with a phone needs to read on! First, the class was asked if anyone had been involved in a fire. Two children had and both blazes involved burning things falling out of the fireplace and setting the carpet alight. In one incident it was a ...

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Pink books for girls, blue for boys?

The children’s book reviewer on The Independent has caused a stir by saying she will no longer review books that are specifically aimed at girls or boys. She’s cited the example of The Beautiful Girls colouring in book (pink, cover, you’d never have guessed) versus The Brilliant Boys Colouring In Book (cover, guess what – blue). Now, I have mixed feelings about this. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a staunchly equal opps mum and personally I would never buy my daughter any ...

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20 Tips For Surviving The Builders

And the builders are OUT… phew! I’m breathing a huge, dusty sigh of relief and allowing life as I know it to resume. I’ve totally renovated four homes so far and although I don’t think this one will be the last, I have promised my family some peace and quiet… for a while. I’ve learned (the hard way) a few useful things about having the builders in and thought I’d share my top 20 tips in case they’re useful to anyone else ...

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World Book Day | My best advice to writers

Today is World Book Day. To mark the occasion I thought I'd repost this blog from my old site. I think there's plenty here to think about for anyone who loves books, loves writing -- and for anyone thinking of trying to write a novel. I'd love to hear your comments:   Do your research. Write notes. Write more notes.  I could write chapters and chapters, probably a whole book about writing. But I’m going to try and break it down into FAQs ...

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Reviews for Cross My Heart | A BIG thank you

Dear book bloggers and reader reviewers, WOW, thank you so much, really and truly, for your amazing response to Cross My Heart. Every single one of these reviews has absolutely made my day, over and over again. Writing is a damn lonely job and of course I spend great long stretches of my time wondering: ‘Will anyone like this story?’ ‘Will anyone care about these characters even half as much as I do?’ So to every lovely reader who fell in love with ...

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The Ravensbruck dilemma | Writing about torture and concentration camps for children

                  The hardest scenes to write in Cross My Heart were the scenes where Nicole is tortured and then imprisoned in Ravensbruck concentration camp. I’ve read a great deal about how Resistance prisoners were treated in prison and it’s brutal and terrible. They were beaten, cruelly hurt and fingernail pulling, branding with hot irons and all kinds of unspeakable treatment was routine. I’ve also read as much as I could bear about the concentration camps all over Germany and Poland and Ravensbruck (ravens ...

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