Friday, 27 January 2012

Author Talk at Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire

Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire. Photograph: J.D. Forrester.

I'm delighted to announce that I shall be giving an author talk and book signing event with refreshments at 'The Stables', Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire, CV8 1NE, at 7pm on Thursday 1st March.

The talk is free, but if you wish to book a place, tickets are available from Warwick and Kenilworth Books or you can email

I'll be talking about my Tudor novel, 'The Queen's Secret', which is set entirely at Kenilworth Castle during Queen Elizabeth I's spectacular visit there in July 1575. The queen's visit was hosted by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who was left nearly bankrupt by its cost.

I'll discuss how the queen's would-be husband spent a small fortune on the most lavish entertainment, catering and accommodation for a queen and her court over a period of nineteen days.

I'll also touch on that all-important question behind the controversial, life-long relationship between the Virgin Queen and her favourite: did they, or didn't they?

Finally, I'll explore the tantalising possibility that the young William Shakespeare, then a boy of only eleven years, might have visited Kenilworth with his father during the queen's visit, and taken away an experience which was later to inform some of the most poetic and spectacular imagery in his plays. If so, the young Will Shakespeare would have drunk in the most fantastical visions: torchlit shows across the castle lake at night, the waters lit up by incredible firework displays, with singers, musicians and silk-draped nymphs on a floating island, the mighty Triton riding on a mermaid, and no expense spared to create an 'other worldly' feel to the castle during that summer idyll - all to woo the Virgin Queen, whose own theatrical appearance often mirrored that of a Faerie Queen.

The 'Rainbow Portrait' of Queen Elizabeth I, attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts. On display at Hatfield House.
Oberon. My gentle Puck, come hither. Thou rememberst
 Since once I sat upon a promontory,
 And heard a mermaid on a dolphin's back
 Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath
 That the rude sea grew civil at her song
 And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
 To hear the sea-maid's music.
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act II, Scene i.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Bloggers' Brunch at Random House

It was lovely to visit the Random House HQ in London on Saturday and chat with about twenty of the UK's most prominent Young Adult book bloggers about my forthcoming YA paranormal Witchstruck, due out July.

It was just a pity I chose to close my eyes at precisely the wrong moment here. But that will teach me not to exchange writerly banter with my fellow authors - John Lucas in the white shirt and Bali Rai in the dark sweater - when a photograph is being taken!

Random House has also blogged about our fun Bloggers' Brunch, with quotations from the bloggers who attended and also a photo of our buffet table - not to be missed!

It was a great day, where I met some really interesting, lively and informed bloggers on the UK book scene. If you see yourself here, do please leave a comment and say hi.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Stunning cover for Witchstruck

I am so very proud and excited to be showing everyone this cover for Witchstruck (Random House Children's Books), my Young Adult Tudor paranormal which will be out in July 2012.

It's just stunning. I am so indebted to the very talented design team at RHCB.

I'll just sit here and stare at this for a few days ...

Monday, 16 January 2012

Book Signing at Waterstones, Coventry

I am delighted to announce that I shall be signing copies of The Queen's Secret at Waterstones, Coventry branch on Saturday 18th February.

I'll be at Waterstones, Coventry, between 11am and 1pm if you'd like a signed copy of the hardback edition, which will have just launched a few days before that.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

A Tale of Two Tudors

I'm feeling a little two-pronged at the moment. This year I have two novels due out, both set in Tudor times but otherwise very different in content and character, and I've been bouncing back and forth between the two publishers recently - Transworld and Random House Children's Books - as we agree on covers, proofs and launch publicity. It's enough to make my head spin some days, but a lovely opportunity to extend myself as a writer. I know how lucky I am, trust me.

The Queen's Secret hardback cover has now been agreed upon - real eleventh hour stuff, as the book should be in the shops by February 17th - and I'm just arranging a series of launch-month events. More details of these to follow soon.

My other novel, which is a Tudor paranormal for Young Adults called Witchstruck, is due out in July and is now at the copy-edits stage. I've just written my dedication and acknowledgements for the book, plus seen a possible cover for it - very exciting! - and am currently planning the next book in this paranormal series. The Amazon blurb for Witchstruck says:

Twilight meets The Other Boleyn Girl in this gripping and passionate tale of Meg, a spirited young witch learning her craft amidst the danger and intrigue of sixteenth-century England.

I almost wish I hadn't written Witchstruck. It sounds like such a great read - and I already know what happens!

You can pre-order these books on both Amazon UK and Amazon US, or grab them from a bookshop as they come out.