Inspirational Women for International Women’s Day 2020

It’s International Women’s Day on 8 March 2020 and I’ve been thinking about the women who inspired me. On Friday 6 March I was at the unveiling of a Blue Plaque to one very inspirational woman – Bristol-born suffragette Emmeline Pethick Lawrence. She was brought up in Weston-super-Mare and the Plaque was placed on her childhood home, Lewisham House, 80 Bristol Road Lower, Weston-super-Mare.

Afterwards, I spoke at a panel event which was part of Weston-super-Mare Literature Festival. Writer and explorer Jacki Hill-Murphy told us all about some remarkable women travellers, including Isabella Bird whose biography she’s just written. Biographer Kathryn Atherton, author of Suffragette Planners and Plotters: The Pankhurst/Pethick-Lawrence Story, shared Emmeline Pethick Lawrence’s remarkable story with us.

I gave a short talk about one of my own Inspirational Women – Mary Wollstonecraft. The text of the talk, in which I explain why she is, for me, such an Inspirational Woman, is available on my blog here.

Death Makes No Distinction wins IndieBrag Medallion

I’m thrilled that Death Makes No Distinction: A Dan Foster Mystery is a BRAG Medallion Honoree. That means the novel has been through a rigorous evaluation process looking at elements such as plot, characters and writing. Only 20-25% of the books IndieBrag considers achieve the award, so it feels like Dan is in good company! You can find out more about IndieBrag here.



Giants and Geniuses

“The pressure of all these hyperboles weighs heavily on me. I’m exhausted by all these “mosts” and “greatests” and giants and geniuses. And if I choose someone less well known, I don’t want to have to justify my choice of subject by making grandiose claims for them.”

I have recently written a blog for the Women’s History Network pondering the question of who gets a biography written about them. I’m currently writing about the life of suffrage campaigner Millicent Price (nee Browne). Millicent is not particularly well known. So why did I choose to write about her and not one of the more famous suffrage activists? Find out in Giants and Geniuses here.

A Tyrant and A Demon

“In spite of all Hannah More had done for Ann Yearsley, she ended up being accused of being a ‘tyrant’. As for Ann, from being Hannah’s ‘meritorious woman’ she changed into a “’Demon’.”

It was a pleasure as always to be invited onto Catherine Curzon’s splendid blog, A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life, with a blog about two eighteenth-century Bristol poets, Ann Yearsley and Hannah More. The women came from very different backgrounds – Ann was a milk woman, and Hannah lived on a private income. For a time they worked closely together, when Hannah took the ill-educated but talented working woman under her wing. Sadly, though, their relationship fell apart in bitter recriminations. Find out why in A Tyrant and a Demon.


Ann Yearsley (British Library on Flickr, No Known Copyright Restrictions)

“Mind set” in historical fiction

“If the story isn’t going to revolve around characters who are just moderns in fancy dress, it’s necessary to try to understand the attitudes, values and beliefs of a particular era. But how do I go about discovering mindset?”

As part of the Death Makes No Distinction blog tour (25 November to 1 December 2019), I was delighted to be invited to write a guest blog for Books, Life and Everything, which looked at the challenges of reflecting the “mind set” of your characters. You can read the blog here.

Death Makes No Distinction wins CWAB Premier Readers’ Award

I’m delighted to announce that Death Makes No Distinction: A Dan Foster Mystery has been awarded a Chill With a Book Premier Readers Award. A Premier Readers’ Award is given to books that receive exceptionally high evaluations from Chill Readers.

Death Makes No Distinction has also been awarded Chill With a Book’s Cover of the Month Award for October 2019. The covers were judged by Cathy Helms of Avalon Graphics.

Crime and Passion

I recently wrote an article on Female First about my favourite crime fiction. It ranges from classics like Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, to Golden Age crime fiction and beyond. But which crime writer is top of my list? You can find out by reading the article at Female First here.

Author Interview with Fiona McVie

“There are always so many ways a story can go and in the end you make a choice about how you’re going to tell it this time, in this book. For every book you finish, there are many other manifestations of it in the shadows behind it: the characters you didn’t include, the settings you didn’t use, the themes you didn’t pursue, the turns you didn’t take.”

I was a guest on Fiona McVie’s Author Interviews blog talking about writing, reading, inspiration, and the latest Dan Foster Mystery, Death Makes No Distinction. You can read the interview here.

Death Makes No Distinction is joint winner of DD Revs Book of the Month

Death Makes No Distinction was joint winner of Discovering Diamonds Book of the Month (September 2019). “The characters are well-drawn, the plot is tight and highlights the difficulties of an ordinary ‘policeman’ trying to make headway in the days when only the intuition, talents and determination of men like Dan Foster could hope to succeed.” Read the full review on the Discovering Diamonds website.

Death Makes No Distinction – the new Dan Foster Mystery

The third Dan Foster Mystery, Death Makes No Distinction, was published by SilverWood Books on 20 September 2019.

When two women at opposite ends of the social scale are brutally murdered, Principal Officer Dan Foster of the Bow Street Runners is determined to get to the bottom of both cases. But as his enquiries take him into both the richest and the foulest places in London, Dan is forced to face a shocking new reality when the people he loves are targeted by a shadowy and merciless adversary…

For more information, see the Death Makes No Distinction page.


Suffrage Stories: Tales from Knebworth, Stevenage, Hitchin and Letchworth

In 2018 I was asked to write a chapter about Millicent Price (née Browne), the suffrage campaigner whose biography I’m currently writing, for a book for the Stevenage and North Herts Suffrage Stories: 100 years of votes for women project. The project is run by Stevenage Museum working with North Herts Museum, Knebworth House, the Garden City Collection, and YC Hertfordshire. The project focuses on the local stories of women’s campaign for the vote.

The book, Suffrage Stories: Tales from Knebworth, Stevenage, Hitchin and Letchworth, was launched at Knebworth House, the home of suffragette Lady Constance Lytton, on Friday 28 June 2019. Along with my chapter, Not So Militant Browne, the book also contains chapters on Lady Constance Lytton, Elizabeth Impey, the Suffrage Pilgrimage and more.

Suffrage Stories: Tales from Knebworth, Stevenage, Hitchin and Letchworth will be on sale locally in Hertfordshire museums (paperback, price £10.00), or contact Stevenage Museum or North Hertfordshire Museum.