Location, location, location

In 2016 I’ve discovered the joy of writing in different places. It’s so refreshing to be somewhere else other than staring at the same view from my office day after day…not that the view from my office is horrid or anything, it just gets a bit samey. By far the best location this year was the balcony which overlooked Porto Roma Bay in Zakynthos. A very close second has to be looking out onto the rooftops in Lucca.



I wonder where I’ll be writing next? I might cram a bit of editing in on a trip to Torquay….Our trip to Iceland is a long way off yet. Maybe book 3 will be started by then….I wonder if my Macbook would suvive a dip in the hot tub 🙂






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Goodreads giveaway



I’m running another book giveaway with Goodreads! It’s a great way to get lots of avid readers to notice Dance with Fireflies. The first time I did this was at its launch. It attracted 1792 entries from people who wanted to win a signed copy, 780 of these readers added it to their ‘to read’ list…. Not bad!

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My dream cast


Alicia Vikander

I’ve been day dreaming about the actors I would cast if/when Dance with Fireflies becomes a box office sell out. Alicia Vikander struck me (not literally) on a flight to Prague. I was watching The Danish Girl. She has something about her. She reminds me of a young Phyllis. So with that in mind I set out to cast other characters:


Micheal Fassbender as Arthur. He just happens to be married to Alicia (handy)


Anna Maxwell Martin as Margaret


Mary Jo Randle as Elizabeth


Kristin Scott Thomas as Pip…maybe with a few more clothes on.


Micheal Caine as Doctor Liptrot

Not a bad first choice. If you have read my book, I’d absolutely love to hear your ideas!

Oh, I nearly forgot… I’d like it to be directed by Steve McQueen.

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It may look like I’m on a beautiful beach in Zakinthos, but I was actually in Karachi in 1947 as I wrote book two!

I took my Macbook on holiday with me, hoping I might pick it up occasionally and have a delve into the backstreets of Karachi, the Sind Club and Phyllis’s life back in India/Pakistan. It took me by surprise to find myself sloping off to the bedroom’s private balcony to hammer out a few thousand words each morning. It became routine to stare at the amazing Porto Roma Bay that surrounded me, it’s various craft coming and going, as I pictured my ancestor’s lives at the time of Partition.

Lunch was always a welcome break in the blistering heat; a chance to refuel on Yianna’s Greek salad and Sangria at Nikos Beach Bar.

After a swim in the clear waters beneath Deep Blue Villas, I’d spend an hour or so on the beach reading through the morning’s writing. I thought it might be a bit of a burden to write whilst away, but it was one of the highlights!

So if you happen to visit the beach bar anytime soon, look out for one of my bookmarks on the counter…couldn’t resist a bit of cheeky guerrilla marketing.

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What’s the story? Well…


Iain Robertson is used to tough jobs – after retiring from the Parachute Regiment, he took on jobs guarding George Harrison, Gary Moore and Johnny Rotten. But keeping Oasis on the rails after debut album Definitely Maybe ignited their rise toward global superstardom would be the toughest gig of them all. Iain was side-by-side with Oasis as their road manager and minder, twenty-four hours a day, eight days a week, as they took on the world and won. No one was closer to the maelstrom. His story is the defining chronicle of life on tour with Oasis.

I caught up with the very likeable Iain, and asked him about his writing……

What form does your writing take? I had a moment of epiphany in the Hamburg apartment of one of our most celebrated Indie- rock-stars.

I had travelled over for something of a holiday, and whilst there was working through the paradigm for my book ‘What’s the story?’ A tour diary of the Britpop giants ‘Oasis’: told from my perspective as their road manager, and head of security.

‘Ignore the rules, enjoy the journey’ he told me.

‘As long as one person gets it, it can be considered a success: even if that one person is you’.

That advice resonated, and whenever I put pen to paper, I’m just looking for an authenticity.

I trust that if I can find something redemptive in the result. Others will.

These days I write mainly for the remembering of this or that, although I am working on a second book, which explores the remarkable dynamic of volunteer fire-fighters. Shifting, as they do, from builder to emergency responder; cutting someone’s teenager out of a car-wreck, to builder again: In the same morning or afternoon.

How often do you write? Not as often as I should.

How does writing make you feel? Mostly, it feels like work. Very occasionally the words find themselves, but in the main it is an unforgiving thing discipline: I have yet to try my hand at fiction, and liberating the extraordinary, in a set of ordinary circumstances/things/events is always hard. The story is not a story, unless it has something of the remarkable within. Sifting for that remarkable, and doing justice to it, when found, well: It takes a keen minds-eye. It often feels beyond me. However, when one finds that remarkable, and captures it, even if only for the benefit of an audience of one: it is rather wonderful.

When and where do you write? I steal moments. I write anywhere. Longhand.

What do you write about? To date, it has always been autobiographical. So: Music. Poetry. Guns and cars and accidents. Fire.

What’s the best thing about writing? Getting a thank you letter, postmarked Australia, from someone who saw a similar truth.

Oasis: What’s the story by Iain Robertson is available in paperback priced £7.99. Follow the link to purchase your very own copy:






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Forty thousand words and counting….

Book two is now well under way. I had got stuck for a while with the enormous amount of information I wanted to add, after researching the partition of India in 1947. It was a period of utter catastrophe with disastrous consequences that still resonate almost 70 years later. My family were lucky to be Anglo-Indians during this turbulent time, but still struggled in a country sliced in two by the British. At one point young Maureen (my mother) was stranded in Nainital (India) whilst Phyllis (my grandmother) was in the newly created Pakistan.

To help break down my notes, I’ve cut them all up into sentences and stuck them on the window in front of my Mac. Each time I include a piece into the book, I take it from the window and bin it. Along with the family photo album, mums sketch of the villa they rented and my chapter cards (colour coded for each location) the book is steaming along! Forty thousand words and counting …..


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An interview with award-winning writer Siddhartha Gigoo

Here’s a great interview I did with the rather lovely and very modest Siddhartha Gigoo.

His books include ‘Fall and Other Poems’, ‘Reflections’, ‘The Garden of Solitude’ and ‘A Fistful of Earth and Other Stories’, which was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award 2015. In 2015, he won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize (Asia) for his short story ‘The Umbrella Man’. Siddhartha has also directed two short films, ‘The Last Day’ and ‘Goodbye, Mayfly’, which were selected for several international film festivals. ‘Goodbye, Mayfly’ won the best film award (fiction) at the Bangalore International Short Film Festival in 2015.




What form does your writing take?

I started writing poems when I was ten. Writers Workshop, Calcutta published two of my poetry collections, ‘Fall and Other Poems’, and ‘Reflections’ in 1995 and 1996. I was in college those days. Later, when I realized my poetry was bad and that I’d failed, I jumped ship. I started a humorous column ‘Looking Glass’ for an English daily. My first novel ‘The Garden of Solitude’ was published in 2011. A short story collection ‘A Fistful of Earth and Other Stories’ came out in 2016. I co-edited an anthology of memoirs called ‘A Long Dream of Home (The Persecution, Exodus and Exile of Kashmiri Pandits).’

How often do you write?

There’re days and nights I write. There’re days I just delete. There’re days I rewrite and rewrite. However, there’re days I just don’t look at anything. But real writing happens when one’s doing nothing and staring at the ceiling. Or stars, for that matter!

How does writing make you feel?

Hollow. Inadequate. Incomplete. However, there’re moments I let my writing fool me. I fall for the spell, the charm. I marvel. The moments are short-lived. Yet, there’s a false sense of creative satisfaction. The act of creation is akin to robbery.

Where\when do you write?

My room. But I send myself text messages when I’m travelling. These text messages are nothing but stray thoughts. I write during nights. Nights are quiet. The devil doesn’t visit you during the day.

What do you write about?

I wish I had a clue. Let my readers decide after they read my books.

What’s the best thing about writing?

It opens a door to another realm. But there’re conditions. The door opens only when you begin to create a new world, and give birth to new people. You are thrown into an abyss. Then you strive for order. For harmony. For music. Then you realize you got to learn how to play the violin on your own. Even while the very world you create is in disarray.


I am a dabbler, a scribbler. I’ve been scribbling for the past three decades. But good writing has eluded me so far.

Here are some links to Siddartha’s work…I lOVE the umbrella man!





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