Contact - FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions


I’m organising a festival/author talk. Will you speak at our event?
In-person appearances are important to me. I will do my best to deliver a heartfelt and informative presentation that suits your programme. Please email me with your requirements, including your date, venue details, talking points and intended audience.

I’m from a creative writing course/university. Can you inspire our students?
I currently teach creative writing at BA and MA levels at University of Suffolk, and I run regular workshops for adults 18+ at Wolsey Writers. My emphasis is on telling the best story, in the best way; and the tools and techniques needed to write for an intended audience. Please email me with your requirements, including your date, venue details, learning aspirations and cohort.

I’m from a book group. Will you visit us?
Meeting readers is one of my favourite parts of being an author. Whether your book group is in Suffolk, elsewhere in the UK, or in another country, yes, it may be possible. Before contacting me, please consider how your group will cover my expenses, which includes travel and accommodation where relevant. For my part I will do what I can to keep costs down, such as traveling off-peak. Please email me describing your group, and when, where and how you will host me. I’m more likely to say yes to realistic invitations from genuine booklovers.

When are you available?
Check my diary to make sure there isn’t a clash.

I’m from a bookshop. Will you sign some stock?
If I’m in your local area, yes, of course. I’d love to pop in, sign some stock and boost your shop on my socials: please email me to arrange this. Event organisers and book groups should refer to the relevant sections on this page.

I’m a journalist/podcaster/producer. Can I interview you for a media piece?
Email me with details of your project, including your talking points, links to previous work and – most importantly – your deadline. I’m more likely to say yes if your piece is planned, rather than lastminute.

What are your pronouns?

I’m a publisher/publicist with a new book to promote. Will you read it and offer a review quote?
Before attempting to send a copy, please email me a blurb, including your deadline for jacket quotes. I don’t blog book reviews anymore, but I will post them on my socials. Hardcopies only (sorry, no eBooks). I’m especially interested in:

  • Debuts and second novels by women.
  • Fiction and nonfiction about philosophy, neuroscience, and art.
  • Books by LGBTQ+ writers.
  • Books by writers of colour.
  • Books by writers who are past/present sex workers.

Have you got any advice on how to become a writer?
If you write, then you’re already a writer. Also:

  1. Practice, practice, practice. Write regularly and attentively. The more you write, the more you will improve over time.
  2. Find a community, online or in real life, so you can tap into support when you need to. Writing is a solitary activity, and problems can feel bigger as a result. But when you start talking to other people, you soon realise how many of your struggles are normal and that they can be overcome.
  3. Write you what you love and what you know to be true. Write for yourself, not for some imagined marketplace.

I’m a writer who wants to develop my creative practice. Can you help me?
If you are local to Suffolk, checkout Wolsey Writers at New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, the creative writing group I started in 2015. We meet on the first Saturday morning of the month (except August) and tickets are pay what you feel. I can also offer bespoke support to longform writers as WIP Consultations: usually these are in-person in Ipswich, but they can be delivered online. I only accept WIP clients at certain times of the year so check my availability first. And I teach modules at University of Suffolk on the BA (Hons) English and MA Creative and Critical Writing courses, including creative writing workshops, historical fiction, short stories, and writing for performance. PhD creative writing students can study at University of Suffolk too.

Have you got any advice on how to get an agent?

  1. Finish your manuscript to the highest standard possible. If you know in your heart that there is more work to do, it is too soon to approach agents. You’re wasting your time if you submit anything shoddy or incomplete.
  2. Do your research properly. Read the submissions guidance on the website of the literary agency you wish to approach and follow it to the letter. Ensure you approach a named agent with an interest in your specific genre. I also recommend connecting with agents via socials: it’s okay to ask genuine questions and network this way. Consider approaching newer agents who are hungry for undiscovered talent and more likely to have space on their lists.
  3. Mentally prepare for rejection. If you really want to be a published author, then you should know that rejection is part of what you’ve signed up for. All the best and most successful authors have been rejected by someone. Always be polite and professional, as if you were applying for a competitive job. Keep your sense of humour. Accept the outcome for what it is without being hard on yourself. The reality for many authors, including myself, is that they weren’t published until they had written their second novel. So . . . no matter what happens, keep writing.

Where did the idea for Pathways come from?
Pathways was inspired by the hard problem of consciousness (sometimes known as the mind-body problem). It wouldn’t exist had I not read the philosopher Mary Midgley’s Science and Poetry (Routledge, 2001). Midgley uses a simile of the ‘ill- lit aquarium’ to describe ‘our world, including ourselves’ which must be viewed through its various windows to be better understood.

Pathways is set in Las Vegas and Cambridge. How did you research it?
I wrote about Las Vegas and Cambridge as an outsider, and no doubt I have made errors. Any details I got right are due to the knowledge and kindness of many people. While I cannot thank everybody personally, a few names stand out and are included as Acknowledgements in the book. It was fascinating to visit both cities and see them through my novel’s themes.

Where did the idea for Girl Reading come from?
From this article about a book of portraits of women readers.

Is Girl Reading a novel or short stories?
It’s a novel, conceived as a single piece of work, made of seven components – and if you took one of them away, it would be incomplete. Girl Reading has a narrative arc. It has specific threads running through it. It has (I hope) a page-turning quality and is intended to be read in order. I love novels which do unexpected things with structure: fans of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas will understand. I also love The Hours by Michael Cunningham; The Waves by Virginia Woolf; The Night Watch by Sarah Waters; The Accidental by Ali Smith; and The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. These books, and numerous others, have made it acceptable for novelists to experiment with how a story is told. Having said that, if other people think Girl Reading is a book of short stories – fine.

Why aren’t there any speech marks in Girl Reading?
By no means am I the only author to write a novel without speech marks. The first one I read where I felt this choice truly enhanced the storytelling was If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor. Lack of speech marks was something I experimented with from the start, leaving the reader to decide what is spoken out loud and what is thought privately. I wanted the voice of Girl Reading to be distinctive and authentic to the sometimes other-worldly, ambiguous themes. Incidentally, my favourite piece of feedback I get on this subject is when people tell me they didn’t even notice.


French Novels and Rose Van Gogh 1888

French Novels and Rose Van Gogh 1888