I’m organising a festival/author talk/conference. Will you speak at our event?
I’m from a creative writing course/college/university. Can you inspire our students?
I want to support new voices on the page, whether this is young people (age 16+) who are exploring their talents for the first time, or adults who’ve made the bold decision to write later in life. I have several offers which might be suitable, including beginner workshops, and masterclasses. You may also wish to consider: a sofa Q & A; commissioning an original lecture; or, to get the most value from my visit, inviting me to campus for a few days to deliver a programme of work. My emphasis will be on what it means it be a writer, tools and techniques that students can use in their own projects, and offering encouragement and inspiration. Please email me your expression of interest, telling me about your students and what you want them to achieve.
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 even another country, yes, it may be possible. Be aware that I write fulltime – I’m self-employed – and I cannot give away author talks at a loss. So before contacting me, please consider how your group will cover my expenses, which includes travel and accommodation where relevant. If your book club is a private group of friends, this might mean a whip-round for example; or you may need to join forces with another local reading group/book shop to make it more affordable. For my part, I will do what I can to keep costs down, such as traveling off-peak. Please email 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.
I’m from a book shop. Will you sign some stock?
If I’m coming to your local area anyway, then yes, we should definitely get in touch ahead of time. I’d love to pop in, sign copies, and boost your shop on my socials. I’m afraid I don’t do sit-at-a-table-and-hope-someone-talks-to-me ‘signings’ anymore, as the times I did those in the past were pretty lonely. Event organisers and book groups should refer to the relevant sections on this page.
I’m a producer/journalist/podcaster/book reviewer. Can I interview you for a media piece?
Depends on my availability and what specifically you are looking for. Email me with full details including your deadline, and links to your previous work and socials. I’m more likely to say yes if your project is planned, rather than lastminute.
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 will tell you if I’m able to help on this occasion. I don’t blog book reviews anymore, but they will appear on my socials #BookReview. I’m especially interested in:
Have you got any advice on how to become a writer?
If you are writing, then you’re already a writer. Also:
I’m a writer who wants to improve. Can you help?
Check out Wolsey Writers which includes ticketed workshops and free participation opportunities, plus #WritingTips on socials (I only post what I use myself). I also offer WIP Consultations which is more bespoke support for longform writers with a work in progress.
Have you got any advice on how to get an agent?
Where did the idea for Girl Reading come from?
Is Girl Reading a novel or short stories?
I think it’s a novel, conceived as a single piece of work, made of seven components – and that if you took one of those components away, it would be incomplete. Girl Reading has a narrative arc. It has specific, and general, threads running through it and (I hope) a page-turning quality. It is intended to be read in order. I love novels which do unexpected things with structure aka the form. 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. The form is an important device which contributes to mood and pace. It determines what the reader is shown, when and how. It is as important as editing in filmmaking. Having said all 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 first author to write a novel without speech marks, but the one I personally read where I felt this device really enhanced the book was If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor. I wanted the voice of Girl Reading to be distinctive and true to the sometimes other-worldly and ambiguous themes. I also have an unpublished first novel which was much more conventional than Girl Reading, so I wanted my second attempt to take more risks. Lack of speech marks was something I experimented with right at the start, leaving the reader to decide what is spoken out loud and what is thought privately. It was the right choice. I did so knowing it would annoy some readers; indeed it has. Incidentally, my favourite piece of feedback I get on this subject is when people tell me they didn’t even notice! As to speech marks in future books, I will always make a judgement based on the kind of novel I’m writing and what it needs.