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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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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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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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The books which helped with Cross My Heart

As Cross My Heart is my first historical novel, set during the Second World War, I had lots of research to do. It was really fascinating find out about the real heroines of the Belgian Resistance and work out how I could use their recollections and adventures to make Nicole’s story as authentic as possible. I loved doing the research and I’d advise any writer to get to the library and find out all about your chosen era. In the real ...

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My grandparents’ war

To understand my fascination with the Second World War, you have to know a little bit about my grandparents. The most intriguing thing is that they fought on opposite sides of the war, as I’m half British and half German. My British grandfather was a farmer, so because of his occupation he was not in active service, but a member of the Home Guard during the war. He was on regular patrols looking out for invaders, making sure everyone’s windows were ...

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Cross My Heart | A story of extraordinary courage, endurance and hope

  For everyone who’s been wanting to know what I’m doing next… here it is, curtain up moment… the heartbreakingly lovely cover of my new book: Cross My Heart. Yes. Gasp! It’s quite a change. No pink, no sparkles, no adventures in fashion-land… this is the story of a 15 year old girl who joins the Belgian Resistance in 1940 during the Nazi occupation. It’s an adventure story. It’s a love story. It’s a story of extraordinary courage, endurance and hope. I am so ...