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”

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!”

Finding Inspiration: Secret Gardens

In “The Alchemist of Paris” the heroine, Elise, has special knowledge of herbs and medicines, which leads to her being sent to Paris, to be a maid in the house of the mysterious scientist, Albert Price. Although a small part of the story, I wanted all the descriptions of the medicine gardens to be asContinue reading “Finding Inspiration: Secret Gardens”

City of Signs – Historical Fiction Tips

“My master, Monsieur Price, has asked me to go to the sign of the Three Hands again, although I dislike the place. He buys powders for his experiments there.” – Elise reflects on her strange instructions in ‘The Alchemist of Paris’ In an age when many people were illiterate, the most common way to navigateContinue reading “City of Signs – Historical Fiction Tips”

Paris in the 1820s: imagining a city in the past

Writing a story with an historical backdrop has all the challenges of fiction writing – plot, character arcs, settings – and also the challenge of creating an accurate and believable world. Setting an historical story in a place like Paris is an even greater challenge, as much of what we see today and consider to beContinue reading “Paris in the 1820s: imagining a city in the past”