Why do I write?

I considered not posting a blog today with so much despair circulating around the USA election result—but I had it prepared, apart from the last two paragraphs, so here it is.

Why do I write?

You may wonder why I’m asking this. I’ve had five novels and three short stories published in just two years so I must be some kind of writing machine, right?

Not really.

I’ve always enjoyed writing. In the years I lived in London and commuted to work and back by train, when I wasn’t reading, I would fill notebooks with stories and ideas. None of the stories ever reached completion. They stayed in a drawer. Getting anything published was only a distant dream.

When I got my first home computer, a Macintosh LC II, I typed up some of the longer pieces in ClarisWorks – my first experience of WYSIWIG, as it was known then (What You See Is What You Get). It was a joy to have black type appear on a white background, as the favourite office word processing software at the time was WordPerfect – yellow type on a blue background. (Honestly, kids today don’t know how lucky they are!)


A younger me at work, 28 years ago

These bits and pieces of stories got printed out (my first laser printer cost more than the Mac) and filed away. Over the years I would take them out at times and think about maybe finishing them.

We moved north and I was driving to work, so the writing become more intermittent. It wasn’t until I was nearing retirement that I started to think seriously about trying to publish something.

Since then, just over three years ago, I’ve hardly stopped writing. When I started though, I could never have imagined I would have an Amazon Author page with a line of books showing.


All those years ago, when I was commuting, I wrote stories to entertain myself. Now that other people are reading my published work, it’s become a job. In some ways that makes it more difficult as I feel I have a responsibility to my readers to give them a good story. Thankfully, I’ve been encouraged, not just by Affinity’s willingness to publish my books, but also by readers who have commented either privately or by leaving a positive review saying how much they’ve enjoyed the stories.

When I knew I would be posting a blog today, I thought it would be a chance to celebrate a historic moment in United States history. Instead America has woken up to a nightmare. And the idea of a woman President remains a dream that may never be realised (in my lifetime, anyway).

I write romances and always aim for a happy ending. So I will carry on writing the stories that make me happy and hope they bring some happiness to others, offering a form of escape perhaps from the gloomy outlook of the world around us.

Book number 5, Christmas at Winterbourne, available from: Affinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords /Apple iTunes


Meeting the hosts

Time to introduce the couple at the centre of the story who own and run Winterbourne House.


Something like the bourne – which gives Winterbourne House its name

Wil (Wilma) inherited the house from her adopted mother, Kim Russell. The back story for this is quite complex but is key to understanding some of Wil’s personality traits. She had a less than ideal childhood with a mother who never told her who her father was or talked about her own parents. They moved constantly from place to place until they came to Winterbourne village.

Whether or not it had been her mother’s intention all along to hook up with the reclusive lesbian novelist living in the village, Wil didn’t know for sure. But looking back, she wouldn’t have been surprised if that had been the case.

With the help of her partner, Gaby, Wil has turned the writer’s home into a successful guesthouse business. And in the process, has enjoyed a settled lifestyle for the past fifteen years.

This tranquility is about to be disturbed by the arrival of their first child. At the start of this story, Gaby is nine months pregnant and with a houseful of guests, plus friends and family, the four days over Christmas are not going to be peaceful. Wil wonders if she has what it takes to be a good parent, not having experienced much in the way of good parenting as a child.

Gaby (Gabriella) on the other hand has no such worries, growing up on a farm in Italy with loving parents and two brothers. In fact, her parents were more upset about her following Wil to England, than finding out their daughter was a lesbian. Gaby has an artistic flair that manifested itself through her contributions to the renovation of the house and gardens, as well as her cooking skills. She has also won awards for photography and is a valued member of the local photographic society.


The book is subtitled ‘A Memoir in the Making’ and this is one of the flashbacks – Wil’s memory of when she met Gaby.

Scene from Chapter One of Christmas at Winterbourne:

…It had been a hot day in Rome and Wil had spent most of it in the university’s library looking up references for the paper she was writing about the Etruscan people. Someone she’d met at a cafe had invited her to a party that evening and she almost didn’t go. As it was, she spent most of the evening leaning against a wall, watching people she didn’t know smoke and drink their way into oblivion. She sipped at a glass of red wine and refused two offers of badly wrapped spliffs. It really wasn’t her scene. Gabriella arrived with a group and at first Wil thought she was partnered up with one of them, but after a while they started to mingle separately. Wil finished her wine and decided to make a discreet exit. As she’d spoken to no one, she wasn’t likely to be missed. Standing outside the apartment building, she had just inhaled a welcome breath of fresh air when a voice behind her asked, in Italian, if she was leaving already. She turned around to find the dark-haired beauty she’d noticed earlier watching her from the doorway. Not trusting herself to speak, she simply nodded. Gabriella came up to her, took her hand, and asked her to please stay.

That evening they just talked. They met again in the following days, going for walks, sitting in cafés. Wil didn’t think it would go any further than that although she really fancied the woman. But she knew she would be heading back to England soon and didn’t want to start something that would end with a tearful separation and empty promises to keep in touch. Then Gaby asked Wil to go with her to see her parents. It was a family gathering for her younger brother’s birthday and she said she didn’t want to go on her own.

Several surprising things happened that weekend. First of all, Gaby’s family welcomed her wholeheartedly. Secondly, they obviously expected she and Gaby would sleep together and put them in the same bedroom. Wil hadn’t known what to do that first night. She waited until Gaby went to the bathroom, undressed hastily and crept under the covers. Gaby had laughed when she came back and saw her there. She had performed an extremely seductive striptease and jumped into bed. By the time they were on the motorbike, travelling back to Rome at the end of two days of family celebrations, Wil was in love…

Fifteen years later, Wil is still in love with Gaby. But is the impending birth driving them apart…?


Next week’s blog: Winterbourne’s ghost makes an appearance

Read the beginning of Chapter 1 from Christmas at Winterbourne on the Affinity website. The book is due for release on 1 November 2016.


Buying options for the books:

The Circle Dance: Affinity eBooks /Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books/Smashwords / Apple iTunes

The Starling Hill Trilogy:

Starting OverAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books /Smashwords Apple iTunes

Arc Over TimeAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

Carved in StoneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes


Christmas is coming…get ready for Winterbourne!

I’m counting the days to the release of my fifth novel…Christmas at Winterbourne. It somehow doesn’t seem real. But as I’m now working through the final edits stage, it is getting closer to reality. The release date is November 1st, timed I hope, for readers to enjoy a compelling Christmas-themed read.

This book is special to me as it had its beginnings a long time ago. My partner (now my wife) and I were living in London. Then she got a job up north. I didn’t think she would like it and decided to stay in London. That’s when I started writing what has provided the backstory for the characters in this novel.

After nine months, a significant gestation period, I realised I wasn’t enjoying the experience of a long-distance relationship and finally headed north. Anyone who lives in a big city can probably relate to this—I didn’t think living in the countryside would be very interesting. In fact, it has turned out to be the best thing we could have done. And we’re still here, twenty-two years later.

My first four published novels are based in and around the area where we now live. The new novel, however, is set in southern England. When I decided to bring it into the present day, I briefly thought of resetting it in the north, substituting Manchester for London and the coastal city of Liverpool for Brighton. But it didn’t really work. So the location stayed in Sussex.

Cover for Christmas at Winterbourne

Back of the book synopsis:

The Christmas festivities for the guests booked into Winterbourne House have all the goings-on of a traditional holiday. The only difference is that this guesthouse is run by lesbians, for lesbians.

When the guests arrive, tensions are already simmering between the house’s owner Wilma (Wil) and very pregnant partner, Gabriella. Wil has a lot on her plate… ensuring the smooth running of the events, looking after all the guests, including her in-laws and business partners. What she hasn’t planned for is a ghost from Christmas past.

Wil inherited Winterbourne from her adopted mother, Kim Russell, author of a series of successful lesbian novels. Most of the guests who stay, do so because they are fans of the author.

One guest, Sally Hunter, is on a mission to write Kim’s official biography. She meets with resistance from the people at the house she tries to interview, stirring up memories from those who knew the reclusive writer well.

For a bit of extra spice to the festivities, add in an unexpected snowstorm, a disappearing guest, and an imminent birth. Join the guests and staff at Winterbourne for a Christmas you’ll not soon forget.

Something for everyone, I think. Roll on, November 1st!


Where to buy my books:

The Circle Dance: Affinity eBooks /Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books/ Smashwords / Apple iTunes

The Starling Hill Trilogy:

Starting OverAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books / Smashwords / Apple iTunes

Arc Over TimeAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

Carved in StoneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes