Singapore Writers Festival

Back in 2013, I attended a Novel-in-Progress workshop at the Singapore Writers Festival. This weekend, I was back as an author to promote the very same novel, my debut, All the Little Children. I thought I would share these author-eye images from Asia's biggest literary celebration.

Unspeakably Eerie Reads for Halloween

Are you ready for Halloween? Once you've prepared a ghastly costume, decorated your lair, and cooked up finger food in the shape of... fingers, why not settle down with a book that'll scare you into next Tuesday?

I was delighted to see ALL THE LITTLE CHILDREN on a Woman's World list of mystery novels to get you in the Halloween spirit. Check out all their suggestions - if you dare!

11 Unspeakably Eerie Mystery Novels to Put You in the Halloween Spirit

These thrillers, mysteries, and horror novels will get you into the Halloween spirit. See the best mystery books to read as Oct. 31 gets near.

Book Launch: All the Little Children

It's a dream moment for every author - the book launch of their debut novel. Mine was hosted by the mighty Kinokuniya at their flagship store on Singapore's Orchard Road - the equivalent of Oxford Street or Fifth Avenue - so an exciting place to introduce my book to the world.

From my spot behind the podium, it felt a bit like a wedding as I spotted friends old and new in the crowd. I was particularly delighted to see so many fellow authors from the Singapore Writers Group, as this inspiring bunch have been staunch companions on the journey to publication.

Likewise, my "Brownies" - a critique group that emerged from a short Curtis Brown course at the Singapore Writers Festival in 2013 - were out in force. Another writer friend, the Bridport-prize winner Elaine Chiew, brilliantly compered the event.

Maybe I'm not very good at this book marketing business, but the event for me was more of a personal milestone than an opportunity to sell units - though I'm grateful to everyone who went home with a green and orange cover inside a linen tote! Several people bought a whole stack for Christmas presents, which I think is excellent planning.

People often ask what is the hardest part of writing a novel and I say "not stopping". There are so many logical reasons to stop, especially that first novel. It feels like you're running down a dark tunnel with no idea if there's a light at the end. It's an act of blind faith. I've been to so many book launches and readings and signings over the years, wondering how you get to be the one behind the table. Turns out that the hardest part is also the simplest - you don't stop writing.

A Love Letter to Switzerland

This is one of the most intimate pieces of writing I have ever shared: a love letter to Switzerland, the country that welcomed me for seven years, where my children and my novel were born. Thanks to my colleagues at The Woolf Quarterly over in Zurich for prompting me to write it: digging into the emotions that inspired a whole novel was a challenge, but cathartic!

Click...

to read my Love Letter to Switzerland on The Woolf.

On the Edge

On a perfectly normal family holiday to the south coast of England, I wandered to the edge of this cliff. It was the silence that drew me there - not until you get right to the lip of the land does the sound of the surf warn you of the danger ahead. After a few seconds - enough to film this video - my vertigo kicked in and I scurried back to the path. The sheep who sleep on the edge watched me retreat with disdain.

Later that day, I wrote a short story about a woman who stands on this spot, looking for her family, scared she may fall. Little does she know that she's already fallen.

The story, called The Lily Stains White, is available for free by clicking the orange banner at the top of this page. 

Cliff top near the Smugglers Inn, Weymouth UK

What to read... in Singapore

People very often ask for recommendations of books to read while in Singapore. Here are my top ten titles to prepare you for life in the Garden City.

And if I've left you wanting more, check out Singapore's vibrant poetry scene, especially my personal favourite, Cyril Wong.

Debut novel cover reveal: All the Little Children

It's been a long time coming. Back in 2013, while studying for an MA in Professional Writing, I wrote a short story. I wasn't planning to focus on fiction (non-fiction seemed like a better development of my previous career in journalism) but I caught the bug.

That story became my final MA project - that 20,000 words became a novel - and that manuscript caught the eye of an agent in Chicago who took it to Lake Union Publishing.

Seeing a book cover feels like a milestone, a point on the road where I should pause a while and catch my breath. The view is great - a cover that captures the story as though plucked from my mind.

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