The lure of another place, another time

My article on English historical novelists living and writing in southern France has just been published in Historical Novels Review. You can read it here: France



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Historical Novel Society Conference 2016 in Oxford


The next UK Historical Novel Society conference will be held in Oxford in September 2016. Conference speakers include Fay Weldon, Tracy Chevalier, Melvyn Bragg and Kate Williams. In addition to authors’ presentations, there are panels, workshops, one-to-ones with editors and agents, networking opportunities, 1066 re-enactors and more. The Historical Novel Society is for writers and readers of historical fiction.


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Twins in Fiction

Very interesting article on twins in literature by Ann Morgan in The Guardian.

My novel, Almodis, features identical twins whose lives take different directions but who continue emotionally connected. I spoke with a number of twins about their experiences as part of my research.

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Guest Post on The Viking Hostage

vh cover




The Viking Hostage has been a bestseller in Medieval books on Amazon Australia Kindle throughout December. A guest post by me on writing the novel has just been published on The Writing Desk Blog.

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The Viking Hostage top ranking in Australia


print from a viking brooch

print from a Viking brooch

My novel The Viking Hostage, published by Impress Books, is currently featuring on three bestsellers lists on the Amazon Australia Kindle Store (European History, Medieval History, Genealogy).

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Writers vs Father Christmas


10 local writers including myself will be facing stiff competition for audiences from Father Christmas in a sleigh pulled by tiny ponies on Sunday 6 December in the Salon du Livres in Laguépie’s Salle des Fêtes (in France) 9am – 4pm. The Local Writers event coincides with the village’s Christmas Market.

The Viking Hostage, Impress Books, 2014

If you are in the vicinity do come in and support us. You can’t sit on our knees and we won’t give you any presents but books do make fine gifts for your family and friends. I will be there with my historical novels Almodis the Peaceweaver and The Viking Hostage, both partly set in early medieval France.

Llansteffan Castle, overlooking the triple river estuary of Carmarthen Bay

Llansteffan Castle, overlooking the triple river estuary of Carmarthen Bay (Photo: Visit Wales)

I’m currently working on my third novel set in 12th century Wales and focussed on the life of Nest ferch Rhys, the daughter of the last Welsh King. Her father Rhys ap Tewdr and most of her brothers were killed by invading Normans. The action begins at Llansteffan Castle. I keep changing the title of the new book but I think it might be called The Bees’ Book and will be published by Impress Books next summer.

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M for Mycelium

Mycelium bowls.  Photo: Nomeda Urbonas

Mycelium bowls.
Photo: Nomeda Urbonas

Zooetics is a five year research project by art collaboration Jutempus*, exploring the possibility of bringing human knowledge, technologies and processes into closer collaboration and understanding with the knowledge, technologies and processes of other life that we are co-existing with on the planet.

This month the Zooetics Pavilion is in the Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius in Lithuania. It was inspired by British novelist J.G. Ballard writing about living plant technologies in his collection of short stories Vermilion Sands (1971). In his fictional world Ballard describes a psychotropic house that interacts with its inhabitants and bio-clothes made from hypersensitive plants that respond to their wearers. Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas created a laboratory in the gallery making living material by mixing mycelium (mushroom root) with agricultural waste (sawdust, straw etc). Every week high school students and gallery visitors can work directly with the mycelium themselves. The material is strong and waterproof and can be used to create many forms: bowls, bricks, packaging, houses, perhaps boats. It is sustainable and could replace plastics, polystyrene and cardboard. Some of the mycelium was allowed to continue living and flourishing with its mushroom fruits. What would happen if we built our houses and other objects out of living material? What would happen if we engaged in more than human collaboration? What do we still have to learn from nature’s own technologies, especially from its systems of balances and symbiosis?

*Jutempus consists of artists Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas and writers / researchers Viktorija Siaulyte and Tracey Warr.

For more details see:


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