Skip to main content

At long last....

My debut novel, A Clockwork Apple, is now out there. I went into Waterstones today to take a peek at how my baby was doing. I went to the 'W' section but it wasn't there. I went to the counter and there, next to the till, was a stack of my books being stickered with the '3 for 2' labels, ready for the main tables. Surreal is the only apt word, and is the only word to use for last night's launch at Housmans bookshop in King's Cross. I was surrounded by friends mainly - but also quite a few people I'd never met and I got plenty of experience scrawling my name on the title page. A good friend then put the icing on the cake by whisking me and my sister to The Ivy for supper! We talked about how far we had each come from our early struggles and how we had attempted to turn some of those struggles into a new creation that others could also share. I have to say that it was the best evening of my life to date and the memory of it will keep me warm for many a hard time to come!! I also did an interview with the Manchester Evening News on Monday. The journalist asked me about growing up in Moss-Side and I pulled no punches but I also hope I did't say too much as my family still live in Manchester! It is also where I will be doing my PhD this year, all going well. Yet despite the surreal yet lovely nature of the launch and seeing it in the bookshops the past week was very dark. Last Thursday a doctor from the Manchester Royal Infirmary told my brother to get the family together as our mum had suffered 'numerous' strokes and may only have hours to live. I raced up there, frantic. On Thursday evening there were twelve people around her bed! It must have worked because she is seeming to pull through and has gone from a comatose state to demanding a cigarette, despite the fact she doesn't yet have use of her arms!! We'll see. More experience to draw on. is now live.

Popular posts from this blog

Who was Mary Burns?

On 7th January 1863 Mary Burns was found dead from a suspected heart attack. She was 43 years old. Since her death Mary has received barely any attention despite the fact that she spent over twenty years as the common-law wife of Friedrich Engels, one of the world’s most influential thinkers and the co-founder of Marxism.

Born in 1822, Mary was the oldest surviving child of textile dyer and factory operative, Michael Burns, and Mary Conroy, Irish immigrants from Tipperary. Mary’s parents had married at St. Patrick’s in an area known casually as Irish Town, one of few Catholic churches in Manchester at that time. The year of Mary’s birth and her infancy were significant in that Manchester was still dealing with the aftermath of the event that became known as the 1819 Peterloo Massacre, a peaceful protest of the working-classes on the site of St. Peter’s Fields in which several people were killed and hundreds injured. The Massacre occurred when magistrates, alarmed at the size of t…

My PhD critical paper

I thought I'd upload the critical element of my PhD thesis. Hopefully, for those who are interested enough to read it, it will make sense despite the references to my creative work, which I can't upload as I'm seeking publication. And besides, at 68,000 words...

I'm also going to tweak section one of this three section critical paper with a view to journal publication because of the academic interest in the claims I make of Mary.

-Dedicated with love and respect to Dr Bruce Lloyd-

And in memory of my parents:
Thomas Valentine and Joan Theresa
Good people who taught me so much more than they realised


The biggest thank-you is due to Norma Clarke, Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at Kingston University, who supervised this PhD. I never had cause to doubt my initial instincts as Norma proved to be the best mentor I could ever have wished for.

I would also like to acknowledge the generous studentship that I was fortunate to be awarded by Kingston Universi…

Booker Shortlist announced

It's been a while... I know. Dog walking on the Downs, a bit of theatre, a bit of baking, a bit of writing etcetera etcetera. I also managed to read two complete books in the past month, which I was so pleased about. I had not read a whole book for about a year. The first was A Lie About My Father by Scottish poet/writer, John Burnside; a very well written memoir about father and son, but like all memoirs, some unreliability I felt. Poignant and tragic in equal measure. Then my husband returned from Cyprus (too hot for me this time of year, I can barely cope with England!) with Sebastian Faulks's Birdsong. He loved it. And then I read it and also loved it. I had originally picked it up several years ago but didn't get beyond Amiens, where the first section is set, but was really glad I did this time around. Another incredibly well written book in the style of a good Victorian! I felt a bit unsure about bits of Elizabeth, in the later section, but I have never learnt so muc…