From my blog...

Ask The Author on Goodreads

QuestionsGoodreads now has a new feature on every Goodreads Author Page called ASK THE AUTHOR. It’s an on-line tool to promote interaction between authors and readers, so I’m joining in.

Readers rarely get an opportunity to question an author unless they attend a bookstore or book club event, but this is an chance for readers and writers to engage. So if you’ve read SHADOW ON THE CROWN and want to ask me a question, or if you have a question about the upcoming sequel, THE PRICE OF BLOOD, or questions about the historical characters in my books or about research/writing/publishing, or about my Oct/Nov residency in Wales, or anything else that strikes your fancy, post your question here

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#BookadayUK 30: Would Save If My House Burned Down

It’s dog-eared and tea-stained, it’s scrawled in and it’s back nearly broken but–

The play’s the thing.


Copyright 1968

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#BookadayUK 29: The Book I Have Reread Most Often

Aside from my own book, I think it’s probably Tolkien.


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#BookadayUK 28: Bought at My Fave Independent Bookshop

My hometown has three indy bookstores, and I love and support all of them: Diesel Books, A Great Good Place for Books and Laurel Bookstore. Here’s a book I purchased at A Great Good Place for Books during author Helene Wecker’s event there.


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#BookadayUK 27: I Want to be One of the Characters…

…in The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett.

But if I can’t be the hero, Francis Crawford, forget it.


Photo credit:

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#BookadayUK 26: Should Have Sold More Copies

I found this on my library shelf back in 2000: Ann Chamberlin’s Leaving Eden.

LeavingEdenThis is a retelling of the Biblical story of Adam and Eve, and Chamberlin gives us a mythic tale set in a real world. She does a beautiful job of weaving myth, anthropology, religion, story and human nature into a tale that I found believable and compelling. It’s like a geode: a rough, earthy, dun-colored stone with a center that is alive and glowing and mysterious.

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#BookadayUK 25: Never Finished It

I hate having to confess to giving up on any book, especially one written by an author whose work I admire. But Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson, defeated me. I think it was the epistolary format that just stopped me cold. For a long time it sat solidly on my ‘To Read’ shelf in my study – a constant rebuke. I finally put it in the guest bedroom so I wouldn’t have to wilt beneath the image of that wooden cross, reminding me that I should give it another try. There is a balm in Gilead, but not for me. Not yet. Maybe later.



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#BookadayUK 24: Hooked Me in to Reading

I can’t go back to when I was first hooked into reading. Age 5? So I’m going to present a book that hooked me into reading IT the minute that I saw the cover. I saw it. I bought it. I love it. Simon Garfield’s On the Map.


Garfield’s historical anecdotes about maps, map-making and map-makers are littered with ‘Holy Cow!” moments. This is a book that is not only entertaining, but illuminating, with chapter titles that include ‘The Mystery of Vinland’, ‘Cholera and the Map that Stopped It’ and ‘How to Make a Very Big Globe’. I only wish the maps included here were fold-outs about five times larger and in color. Garfield’s introductory chapter, ‘The Map that Wrote Itself’, includes the image below in black and white, but I’m giving you the color version, which is gorgeous. It was produced by an intern at Facebook in 2010 using the FB connections between people worldwide.


In 2010 an intern at Facebook used the FB connections between people to create this world map.

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#BookadayUK 23: Made to Read at School

MobyDickI know. It’s a CLASSIC. We read it in 11th grade. But I remember absolutely nothing about it except that bloody first sentence and how much I hated this book.

Call me Unimpressed.

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#BookadayUK 22: Out of Print

This is on my research shelf: The Peterborough Chronicle of Hugh Candidus,  published in 1941 by The Peterborough Natural History, Scientific and Archaeological Society.


It’s publication was supposed to be accompanied by a celebration of the quatercentenary of the founding of the cathedral at Peterborough, except, there was a war on. The party was cancelled, and only this slender little volume served to commemorate the anniversary. There weren’t many copies printed, and I was delighted to get my hands on one of them. It is a translation of the medieval Latin chronicle of events at Peterborough Abbey from 655 to 1177. It seems, according to Hugh Candidus, that in the early 11th century, Abbot Aelfsy gained great favour with Queen Emma and King Æthelred. Emma was pretty tight with Aelfsy, interceding with the king on his behalf when the abbey was threatened with dissolution. Hugh also gives a list of some of the relics owned by the abbey including: Two pieces of Christ’s swaddling clothes, some bits of the manger, pieces of Mary’s veil, some of Aaron’s rod, and a piece of the five loaves that Jesus multiplied and gave to the five thousand. And if that’s not enough, the abbey also owned the right arm of St. Oswald, “his flesh and blood and skin, his fingers, yea! the very nails, in fayre and lively hue.”


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