Flashback – A never published scene from The Alchemist of Paris

When I was sorting through my papers, I found this scene from an early draft of The Alchemist of Paris.  Young housemaid Elise and her mysterious master are walking through the pre-dawn streets of 19th century Paris. Although there are familiar points, this scene has an alternative plot line. Can you spot three changes fromContinue reading “Flashback – A never published scene from The Alchemist of Paris”

Sequels, Prequels and Interquels

Be careful, the note said, for I had found a phantom. Albert Price had been known across Europe for the past fifty years, although if he were real or a legend, no one knew. – The Alchemist of Rome When your main character has lived for centuries, are your books sequels, prequels or interquels? TheContinue reading “Sequels, Prequels and Interquels”

Quiet Rome – 5 Special Places in the Eternal City

Rome has been a destination for visitors for centuries, but in the midst of all the glamour and bustle, it is possible to find quiet spots where the mind can wander. Palazzo Spada While many tourists visit the colourful Campo del Fiori fresh food markets, just around the corner is the Palazzo Spada. Stepping intoContinue reading “Quiet Rome – 5 Special Places in the Eternal City”

Map Monday – Ancient Egypt

    “In Egypt, I met a man who called himself Albert Price. And that man has intrigued me ever since.” – Jean-Louis Champillon reflects on past journeys in ‘The Alchemist of Paris’ The book in the picture above was published in 1888. It was found in a book sale in a barn many yearsContinue reading “Map Monday – Ancient Egypt”

The Surprising Difficulties of Photographing #Booksandmacarons

#Bookstagramming on Instagram combines three of my favourite things – taking pictures,  microblogging and discovering new books. With hashtags such as #booksandnature, #booksanddogs #booksandcafes #booksinthewild etc etc, it all looks so chic and simple. However all those artful pictures are not as easy as they look, as I discovered when I decided to photograph ‘TheContinue reading “The Surprising Difficulties of Photographing #Booksandmacarons”

Leaving Paris

Paris had never looked more beautiful than on that last run through the city. I had forgotten the squalor and smells of the narrow streets now and saw only the grandeur of the rooftops against the sky. Gerard guided me out of Le Marais and along the broad boulevards near the Louvre Palace. We ranContinue reading “Leaving Paris”

Leaving home

At twilight I slipped out of the convent and into the herb garden. Unlocking the gate, I strolled under the old stone arch to the fields beyond. The sky was blue violet, and a golden moon was rising over the hills. The air was sweet with the scent of the rustling grasses. Wildflowers, some bloomingContinue reading “Leaving home”

Grab a coffee, ‘The Alchemist of Paris’ is here!

It’s been a long journey, but ‘The Alchemist of Paris’ is finally here! Escape to Paris this summer, without having to leave home! A big thank you to all my friends and readers for their support and encouragement, from those early days of listening to me talk through the plot, to asking those questions thatContinue reading “Grab a coffee, ‘The Alchemist of Paris’ is here!”

Alchemy, Magic and the Origins of Modern Science

I remembered a word I had heard the monks say, a word spoken with disapproval, a word as bad as a deadly sin. A word that was rich and alluring, a word describing something I knew to be wrong, but which I knew was exactly what lay in the pages before me. Alchemy. – Elise starts toContinue reading “Alchemy, Magic and the Origins of Modern Science”

Plotting my Way across the City (from a Writer’s Perspective)

One of the most evocative books I have ever read is “The Vampire Lestat”. Anne Rice made me want to run down the Paris boulevards with Lestat and Nicholas, sit in the smoky theatres and opera houses, and descend into the catacombs with Armand. Frankly, it even made me want to be a vampire, hadContinue reading “Plotting my Way across the City (from a Writer’s Perspective)”