When the Journey Becomes the Story

When I taught GCSE English a lifetime ago, students were often given ‘A Trip to —‘ as a title in the exam. I was always surprised how many of them wrote about getting up that morning, the journey to the airport, or something along the way when the main focus... read more

The Blog Tour

Collaborative blogging seems to have been a feature of my blog world this year: I’ve written guest posts on ‘The Piano Player’s Son’ on two other blogs; I’ve had guest writers on my blog for my ‘Why I Write’ series, and now I’m taking part in ‘The Writing Process’ Blog... read more

The Pull of the South-West

If that’s a strange title for a blog mainly about writing, reading and the experience of being a writer, it’s because this post’s link to the topic will be tangential at best. But I wanted you to know that I’m still alive, despite my silence. Perhaps as a result of... read more

West Cork Literary Festival – the highlights

I’ve just returned from almost a week in Ireland (a week during which the sun shone all day, every day from the bluest of skies – almost unheard of in the south of Ireland) and somehow, I’ve got to come down to earth. The week was filled with wonderful experiences... read more

Wonderful New Poetry Collection

Today I’m playing host to fellow-Cinnamon author, Caroline Davies, whose wonderful collection of poetry ‘Convoy’ has just been published. I first met Caroline on a writing course in North Wales when she was working on the idea of writing some poems about her grandfather’s experiences in the Merchant Navy during... read more

Setting and The Piano Player’s Son

It’s six months now until the launch of ‘The Piano Player’s Son’ on 25th October in Worcester! To try to contain my excitement between now and then, I’m going to blog from time to time about aspects of the novel – characters, plot, themes, settings, and next week, I’ll be... read more


I love Venice! I can imagine some people might hate it: in some areas, it’s overrun by tourists; shops are full of gew-gaws; and you keep getting lost. Wherever you go, there are people standing with maps wondering where on earth they are. The vaporetti are no less confusing. You... read more

Wandering around Venice

‘This city enfolds upon itself.’ Canals hide other canals, alley-ways cross and criss-cross so that you will not know which is which until you have lived here all your life. Even when you have mastered the squares and you can pass from the Rialto to the Ghetto and out to... read more