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What happens when you publish your first novel in half a decade?

So it’s been over a month since the pre release of Orphan Sisters, my first published novel in five years. I see that publishing has moved on since 2012. The Internet is  now a huge part of the publishing process now and the popularity of e-books have advanced and plateaued during that time.                                                                         

Order the pre release today!

This will be my fifth novel and I have never had a pre release before. But this time, the hardback and e-book editions were released on June 1st – three and a half months before the mass-market paperback. It’s different but also really good, as it gives me a chance to gather reviews online before the ‘big day.’

Right now I’m also writing my sixth novel, so my head is filled with an all new set of dysfunctional ‘people’ and intertwining plot directions! It’s also set almost two decades before Orphan Sisters, during World War 2 and this is a big change that will require a lot of research. 

What is similar and has been for every single book I have had published, is the sheer joy I get from talking about my characters as if they were real. This happened last week after a very impromptu book reading at a gathering for creatives. Verbally, I was able to introduce the two main characters, Lana and May out into the world for the very first time and it felt thrilling… and terrifying! Apart from the usual neurosis fuelled battle in my head (what if no one likes them as much as I do?) I really enjoyed this process. In five years I had forgotten just how much. 

I’m pleased to say ‘my girls’ were well received. These characters which had lived in my head, and then on a page and then out into the atmosphere, had flown the nest to make their own way in life.

Now, today and with just over two months to go until the official launch date of Orphan Sisters, I’m looking forward to the book reviews. I have already had a few and they have been amazing. I remember trawling through reviews for my previous books and choosing to focus on the very few that were negative. Why do we do that as humans? Ignore the positive and focus on the very few which are not? I have told myself I wont do that this time. I can’t promise I wont, though.

Having a book published after five years, has reminded me of just how much I love meeting and hearing from readers who have read and loved my work. When you’ve spent the best part of a year alone at your desk writing the novel, it’s this sheer joy that always creeps up – coupled with a reminder of why I don’t actually want to do anything else.

Orphan Sisters is out TODAY! I’m serious. IT IS!!

My first published novel in FIVE years, Orphan Sisters is out on pre- release TODAY!

I mean the official release date of the mass market paperback is still 21st  September 2017 but today the e-book is available to download! Yipeeeeeeee!

It’s actually out there and I don’t think I can believe it!

It’s been a long and emotional five years.

I lost three members of my immediate family, left a job I had worked at for 12 years, moved countries and through it all, I carried on writing. One of the manuscripts I wrote during the first part of this hiatus was indeed Orphan Sisters. My agent at first did not find a home for it so I simply carried on writing. And writing. And writing. A few manuscripts later, Orphan Sisters was sold to Ebury at Penguin/ Random House, proving that as a writer anything can happen! So Orphan Sisters will finally get ‘her’ moment to shine whilst the other manuscripts wait in the wings (or in the external hard drive of my computer). Some of them will also one day (soon) get their time to shine, some never will. That’s the nature of publishing. It’s a tough business but I love it! 

Five years is a long time.

But through it all, I never gave up. I KNEW I’d be published again one day. I knew this was the path leading to the purpose God has set out for me. So I persevered and here I am. A new novel! 

Champagne and book launches will be on hold until September, but for now, I will celebrate this milestone with a Coca Cola toast and a prayer of thanks.



Order the pre release today!



If you take the ‘subtle as a sledge hammer ‘ hint and go off and download my book,  please leave a review. I’d really like to know what people think of my 5th book. Seriously, I would.

Wow, I still can’t believe ‘she’s’ out there!!!!!!!!



4 Tips to Help you Avoid Social Media Distractions

4 Tips to Help you Avoid Social Media Distractions (especially when trying to write a book!)

If like me you’re trying to write a book or complete a project, it’s sometimes doubly hard to do so without the inclusion of Youtube videos of cats dressed in romper suits or re- tweeting on the phone whilst staring at a blank laptop screen. If this sounds like you -an intervention is needed. As a psychotherapist, I’m not about to recommend therapy, but I do have a list of practical tips to help you banish those distractions.

1) Try a detox

Start small. How about twenty four hours without Facebook, et al? Then a couple of days and then maybe a week? I once deactivated Facebook for a whole month and got loads done- after I was able to convince myself that some urgent catastrophe had not befallen the world without me knowing about it!

2) Deactivate apps

Some apps like Hangouts and Skype may just need to be deactivated temporarily whilst your addiction phase is on High. When I’m about to write a book ,my procrastination levels are on full blast. I just HAVE to sweep the floor and check for dust behind the picture frames.  I just HAVE to check who’s online. I just HAVE to re-tweet that funny meme. STEP AWAY FROM THE DEVICE  NOW! Or, just de-activate the offending apps temporarily and for a set time each day. Media blockers like ‘Self Control,’ for Mac. Or ‘Freedom’ for PC are a couple that come to mind, with a more extensive list available here. I wont embarrass myself by trying to get all technical but as far as I know, when these apps are in force you’ll be unable to scroll though for example, Facebook for the time you have specified. I haven’t tried this yet but I’m tempted…

3) Turn your phone OFF

Yes, an oldie but a goodie. Every time I began a section of writing or editing for my latest novel Orphan Sisters I either switched the phone off altogether or turned the volume to zero. It’s also a good idea to place the phone as far away from eye level as possible. Perhaps shut it in the bathroom or in a shed! This worked for me, but only as a temporary measure because as soon as I took a break… I was straight back to that phone to look at a fresh batch of ‘puppies on a swing’ videos!                                                   

4) Activate the DnD sign

Depending on where you write, it may be a good idea to place a physical ‘Do not disturb’ sign on the door or simply be verbal about it by saying, ‘Do not disturb me for the next hour! Go away!’ Good luck with that one if you have little ones or an overly attentive dog stuck to your keyboard. But it’s a start.

Happy Writing!