Since last writing I've been all over the United States and the United Kingdom, talking about two books: At the Edge of the Orchard and Reader, I Married Him: Stories Inspired by Jane Eyre. If you look around the website you'll find new interviews and radio shows, articles and reviews. The publicity is dying down but I am still doing a lot of events, some solo, others with some fabulous writers. To see if I'm coming to a town near you, have a look HERE.

In a few days it's time for another writer to step into the limelight. On 21 April we will down tools and stand up to salute Charlotte Brontë, who turns 200. I've been working for the past year with the Brontë Parsonage to help celebrate Charlotte's bicentenary, and have discovered how beloved she is by readers everywhere, and also what a surprising woman she was. You can read more about the bicentenary HERE, and about her most famous novel Jane Eyre HERE.

I leave you with the two best ways I know to celebrate a birthday: cake and quilts*. Happy Birthday, Charlotte!


                                 Happy Birthday Charlotte   Splendid Shreds birthday

*(Thanks to Huddersfield quilter Judith Havis for this quilt celebrating Charlotte - on display with 57 others at "Splendid Shreds of Silk and Satin" exhibition at the Bankfield Museum, Halifax, Yorkshire 16 April - 11 June 2016)

This month At the Edge of the Orchard is published in the US and UK. It's always both exhilarating and bizarre when a book is published. After working on it mostly in private for three years, I'm sending it out into the world, like a child walking to school for the first time on his own. Is he ok? Did he get lost? How come I haven't heard from him?

But of course he's fine. And I have to let my book go - to you. Hope you like it. As a publication gift, I give you this photo of a bowl of Golden Pippins (aka Pitmaston Pineapples). Once you've read the book you'll want to see them, and some day eat one!





New year, new website - all in anticipation of two books coming out this spring:


orchardukcover OrchardUScover   RIMHUKcover  RIMHUScover

(I have to show all the covers or the different publishers get upset!)

Have a look around, as some things have changed. In ABOUT ME, you can find out what color ink I prefer. And EVENTS: there will be a lot of them this year! Keep checking back for new details.

Happy New Year!

Today was an important day for me. For the first time I got to taste an apple that features in my forthcoming novel, At the Edge of the Orchard. The Pitmaston Pineapple is an old and rare English variety, and hard to find. While writing it I had to describe the apple's taste by basing it on other people's descriptions. Today, at last, a bowlful of Pitmaston Pineapples arrived, courtesy of Matthew Thomas and Nick Dunn at Frank P Matthews Trees for Life in Worcestershire. Thanks, guys!

Here I am, worshipping my apples:

Today I was looking for a photo to show my publishers about 19th-century boys' hairstyles, and came upon a photo that basically IS my main character. Funny, this happened when I was working on The Last Runaway too. Robert Goodenough, meet Honor Bright.

CivilWarboycropped HonorBrightphoto


He has what they call a thousand-yard stare. In real life he was a young Confederate soldier, who had clearly seen too much for his age. (Many thanks to The Civil War Parlor on tumblr for this image.) We don't know anything about her. I wish we did.