Musings

Welcome to my Musings

My Musings are for readers, writers and those who love the magic of words. You’ll find snippets on a variety of topics: inspirational places and people, suggestions for readers, tips for writers, my journey as a writer, insights into my books, special previews.

Pumpkin Pies and Sensory Immersion

Pumpkin Pies and Sensory Immersion

Whenever I smell freshly grated nutmeg, my mind takes me to the kitchen of my childhood home. My dad and I stand side-by-side with our sleeves rolled up, wearing aprons: he mixes canned pumpkin with...

Translated Fiction

Translated Fiction

Although I can bumble my way through basic Dutch to help with grocery shopping and rudimentary French to order from the menu in a Parisian bistro, I am fluent in only one language. I admire those...

Subtle Art of Symbolism

Subtle Art of Symbolism

While reading Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved, I was intrigued by her repeated use of colour as a way of adding richer context to the courageous story of former slaves in post-Civil War Cincinnati. It...

Embracing Failure

Embracing Failure

Writer Samuel Beckett coined the phrase “Fail again. Fail better” in his penultimate novella Worstward Ho in 1983. It became the mantra for individuals, entrepreneurs and writers around the world,...

Dual Narratives

Dual Narratives

Dual narratives have always fascinated me: transitioning from one character or time period to another, an intriguing juxtaposition of language, idiom, objects and customs that describes two distinct...

Nothing Wasted

Nothing Wasted

When I completed the first draft of The Engraver, I honestly believed it was pretty good. My brash opinion lasted only a few days. After I climbed down from my pedestal, I looked at the manuscript...

Inspiration: Far and Wide

Inspiration: Far and Wide

I’m fascinated by the endless ways in which artists – whether musicians, painters, photographers, graphic designers, but especially writers – find inspiration. ‘If you want to be a writer,’ said...

The Muse

The Muse

When I visited a Frida Kahlo exhibition several years ago, I was struck by her revelation about the inspiration behind her art. ‘I am my own muse,’ she explained. ‘I am the subject I know best. The...

What I'm Reading

September/October 2021
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
by Ocean Vuong
War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans
No Honour by Awais Khan
The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

July/August 2021
The Weekend by Charlotte Wood
Orkney
by Amy Sackville
The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Force of Nature by Jane Harper
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
The Painter by Will Davenport

May/June 2021
Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak
The Little Drummer Girl by John le Carré
The Didomenico Fragment by Amor Towles
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Dear Mrs Bird by A J Pearce
Markievicz: A Most Outrageous Rebel by Lindie Naughton

March/April 2021
Love is Blind by William Boyd
The Unforgetting by Rose Black
Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd
The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim
Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

January/February 2021
The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue
The Man Within by Graham Greene
The Break by Marian Keyes
Vox by Christina Dalcher
The Telling by Jo Baker
Dear Mr M by Herman Koch
Snow Blind by Ragnar Jónasson

What I read in 2020

November/December 2020
The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens by Claire Tomalin
The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley
The Waiter by Matias Faldbakken
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Mr Mac and Me by Esther Freud

September/October 2020
Pew by Catherine Lacey
The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
The Susan Effect by Peter Høeg
The Good People by Hannah Kent
The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

July/August 2020
Heartburn by Nora Ephron
The Foundling by Stacey Halls
A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier
The Dark Circle by Linda Grant
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

May/June 2020
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
Lie With Me by Philippe Besson

March/April 2020
Out of Egypt by André Aciman
The Carer by Deborah Moggach
The Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Nutshell by Ian McEwan

January/February 2020
When All is Said by Anne Griffin
A History of the World in 21 Women by Jenni Murray
Happiness for Humans by P Z Reizin
The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty
The Magus by John Fowles
Mrs Dalloway by Virgina Woolf

What I read in 2019

November/December 2019
Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene
Midnight Blue by Simone van Vlugt
Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls
Longbourn by Jo Baker
The Christmas Hirelings by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg

September/October 2019
Old Filth by Jane Gardam
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal
Our Friends in Berlin by Anthony Quinn
The Innocents by Francesca Segal
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

July/August 2019
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
The Familiars by Stacey Halls
After the Party by Cressida Connolly
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
This Must be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

May/June 2019
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Sixteen Trees of the Somme by Lars Mytting
Stronger Than Skin by Stephen May
Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett
Tin Man by Sarah Winman
The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle

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