What's it about?

Work with people outside your discipline

Learn from others who know more about the subject

How can a man possibly fathom what it's like to be a woman who lost 17 children? The question has troubled me ever since I started writing about Queen Anne. But more positive voices in my head say that the work is about empathy. I've…

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Collaborate with the dead

This list (pictured) is by Alasdair Gray. In my novel, I have used all three of Gray’s forms of plagiarism. Mostly, I have stolen ideas from Shakespeare.

One whole chapter is based on a scene out of Henry IV Part One, with…

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How 25 readers transformed my manuscript

Not every author can do this: invite real readers, who have paid money up-front for a book, to edit and improve the manuscript before it’s published.

But crowd-funding makes that possible. As well as taking brilliant suggestions from the editors at my publisher, Unbound, I sent the finished work to 25 subscribers, asking them to tell me what they liked about the book, and what they might like to be different. And then I made some very big changes…

Ask for moral support

Recently, I had a bit of a wobble. I became a bit overwhelmed with the negative voice in my head, telling me that my happy experiments in writing historical fiction, and working as a coach, and playing with improvisation might strike my old friends in journalism as, essentially, foolish and…

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Stick to the programme

Yesterday I popped into the offices of Unbound to pick up the publishing schedule for my book, now that it's fully funded.

We're aiming to launch in March, which is a great month for that – and gives me oodles of chances to…

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Take the time to reflect on what you have achieved

I asked my friend Dr Mandy Lehto to chat about the business of celebrating, relief – and perhaps even mourning – when a project ends.

Celebrate success with people who helped

I held a virtual, online launch party for people who couldn’t join me in London.

(Yvonne, in this film, is played by my great collaborator Jude Claybourne.)

Extend the brand...?

Even before I designed blue and white china for The Department Store for the Mind, I was thinking of ways to make a commemorative Queen Anne mug.

The picture above shows a drawing that takes in several of the key ideas. The film below…

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