News: Our books – introducing our five titles


Our third novel, A Forgiven Friend, is the final book in our FRIENDS trilogy.

We have now written five books together – three novels and two journalism textbooks – and the thrill, and trepidation, of sending each book into the world has always been just as intense whether it’s the first or the fifth.

It’s quite a few years since we first started writing together when we were both teaching journalism to higher education students. Me at Sheffield Hallam and Susan at Leeds Trinity. Continue reading

Viewpoint: Celebrities telling stories about their lives? It must be literature festival time and they’ve books to flog.

You can hardly open a newspaper this month without there being articles featuring comments, opinions and stories by, from and about celebrities.

Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis on why she’s banned from wearing bright clothes on screen; David Cameron talking about his daughter asking if it’s true he was prime minister; former Radio 4 Today presenter John Humphrys accusing the BBC of bias…

And many more… But why now?

Easy: it’s literature festival time and these celebrities have been appearing at one or another – because they’ve got books to flog. Continue reading

Viewpoint: When did you start to write? Have you joined a band of authors who left it until they’d retired?

There have been lots of messages on Twitter and Facebook about when writers started to write fiction with the emphasis being on those who didn’t start ‘seriously’ until they’d given up full-time, paid employment.

It seems a remarkable number waited until they retired before feeling they had the time (and the financial resources) to take up writing – even if writing was something they’d wanted to do since they were young. Continue reading

News: Writer’s Showcase events at Wakefield Literature Festival 2019


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Thrilled to bits to be making two appearances at the 2019 Wakefield Literature Festival.

After a two year absence, the festival has been revived by Louis Kasatkin and will run from Monday, September 16 until Saturday, September 21.

Full programme details are below, but you can join me at 2-3.30pm on Wednesday, September 18 at a Writer’s Showcase panel at Mocha Moocha – a lovely cafe in the city centre – and again, with Susan Pape, at 2pm on Saturday, September 21, at a second Writer’s Showcase at Wakefield Library, (above) which is more-or-less across the road from Westgate railway station.

Hope you can join us.

Full programme details can be found here.


News: Chemical reaction from ‘Sue and Susan who write books’ baffles Pointless hosts Armstrong and Osman


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Not quite how either of us remember it, but Susan and I – described in a recent article on The Daily Express website as Sue and Susan who write books – had a little chuckle at the account by TV reporter Roxanne Hughes of our debut on television quiz show Pointless.

She described our consternation when co-hosts Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman announced the first round of the competition would be on chemical elements.

We seemed, she said, to be incredibly excited – which completely baffled both Armstrong and Osman. Continue reading

Review: How ‘normal’ is normal? That’s the question for Sally Rooney’s Normal People

I was reluctant to add to the praise of this author – or like her book. I mean Sally Rooney has already had most of the plaudits that can be thrown at a young debut writer: shortlisted for a string of book awards, and winner of others including the Costa Novel of the Year, and long listed for the Man Booker Prize as well as the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Sally Rooney

Sally Rooney

She’s published by Faber & Faber who can afford to throw money at her marketing and promotion. She’s young and she comes from County Mayo so she ticks boxes (age and un-London).

And in the book she’s writing something that would seem to me to be a coming of age story featuring two unlikely teenagers.

She uses the present tense. And she doesn’t use quotation marks.

Really? How can I, riven as I am with (ahem) preconceived ideas and resentment, like this author and this book?

Childishly, I thought: Oh, come on.

Continue reading

Viewpoint: the joy of work wear if you can spend £110 on a pair of pop socks.

It’s always interesting to hear how other authors work: where they write; what they have on their desks (or kitchen tables); the time of day that’s best for them to be creative; and what they wear.

Now to be honest, it’s the ‘what they wear’ that interests me the most today. Sorry to be so shallow, but I know from talking to other people who work from home, we’re not the sort for a full row of pearls and stilettos while we’re sitting in front of our computers bashing out the odd 5,000 words. Continue reading

Review: Take a trip down James L. Weaver’s Blackbird Road and enjoy a thrilling character-driven ride


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What happens when you read a book that’s so good, you can’t find the words to adequately describe how much you enjoyed it?

You procrastinate – and six months down the line, you still haven’t posted a review.

Which is daft!

Because all I really need to say about Blackbird Road, the third novel in James L. Weaver’s Jake Caldwell series, is that it’s a cracking thriller with great characters.

And I LOVED it. Continue reading