writing


Marie Antoinette: An Intimate History

I’m so sorry about taking a month off from my blog but I hope you’ll all forgive me when I reveal that the reason for my absence was a brand new book about Marie Antoinette, based on decades of pretty obsessive research (both primary and secondary) and thoughts and questions from all of you. A couple of years ago I threatened my poor, unfortunate blog readers with a light hearted ‘pulp’ biography of Marie Antoinette, which at the time I intended to call ‘Teen Queen to Madame Guillotine’. However, other projects intervened and my plan was temporarily shelved as I […]


Edinburgh here I come

Marie de Guise, Corneille de Lyon, c1537. Photo: National Galleries of Scotland. Ooh la la, or maybe that should be och aye the noo? It’s okay, simmer down, I’m born and bred Scottish so I’m allowed to say that. Even if I somehow managed to grow up without the slightest trace of a Scottish accent and so say it in a weird sort of west country accent when I attempt it. Oh dear. What I wouldn’t give for a lovely soft Scottish accent like the one that my friend Alison is blessed with. I could sit and listen to her […]


Goodbye 2014

I can’t believe that 2014 is already almost over and we’re now hurtling towards 2015. I have had SUCH an amazing twelve months that I’ve started and abandoned this post several times over due to having FAR too much to say about it all – this was, after all, the year where I turned forty, confronted a whole bunch of silly little fears, got a book deal, ticked over six million page views on this blog and signed up with an agent so it was pretty action packed. However, for your sake, dear readers, I have therefore compiled a top […]


Marie de Guise announcement

Marie de Guise, Corneille de Lyon, c1537. Photo: National Galleries of Scotland. I am very very pleased and happy and thrilled and EXCITED to announce that I have been commissioned by Pen and Sword Books to write a full length biography of Marie de Guise, the mother of Mary Queen of Scots alongside the series of novels that I am already writing about her life. Whereas plenty of attention has been paid to the disasters and mistakes of her daughter, I really feel like it is time for a fresh assessment of the abilities and successes of Marie, who was […]


Sophie Scholl and the White Rose

Sophie Scholl (1921-1943), photograph by Werner Scholl (1922-1944). ‘Stand up for what you believe in even if you are standing alone’ — Sophie Scholl. Starting a new writing project is always exciting and especially so when you’re writing about something close to your heart and that you’ve wanted to explore in depth for a really long time. So it is with my latest project, which is a young adult novel about the German World War II heroine Sophie Scholl and the White Rose movement. I must admit that I totally underestimated just how intense this project was going to be […]


The 2013 Top Ten

At the Cheapside Hoard exhibition preview, Museum of London. Photo: Suzy Nightingale. Wow, what a busy and action packed year it has been – full of all manner of historical treats and excitements! As is traditional at this time of year, I’ve decided to put together a list of my top ten vaguely blog related moments but it’s been REALLY hard to narrow it down as so much has happened and I’ve had such a blast! However, here is my poor effort, such as it is… Detail from a portrait of Anne of Denmark. Photo: Melanie Clegg. 1. In Fine […]