A guest blog on Printasia! And thank you to them for the invitation.


CircleofShad_JKFWhen I research my novels I spend a lot of time in libraries, but occasionally I find an excuse to get out and see a bit of the world. I realised early on that automata were going to be an important part of the story, and was lucky enough to find The House of Automata as I began looking for the sorts of automata that were being made during the period. Michael and Maria Start were kind enough to let me visit them and see some of the amazing clockwork models they make and restore, and being there was the inspiration for the workshop in the novel.

Though the Duchy Maulberg is fictional the palaces, towns, villages and landscapes are based on real places in the south-west of modern Germany.

So this little video shows you some of the pictures I took while with Michael and Maria or in Germany and then used to inspire me. The music is Vivaldi, not quite the period of the novel, but I listened to a lot of his music while I wrote it anyway. This is his Motet for Soprano and Orchestra (Nulla in mundo pax sincera (RV 630)) played by the Advent Chamber Orchestra from Bolingbrook, Illinois. The soloist is Cristina Piccardi.


I’m delighted that the fourth Westerman and Crowther novel is now out in the US!

And very pleased with this review from Publishers Weekly:


And here’s something I wrote about the inspiration for the novel when it came out in the UK:


I’m just finishing writing my next Westerman and Crowther book, but in celebration of publication day, I shall put together a slide show of some of my research photographs and share that with you a little later.

You can buy the book from Barnes and Noble via this link

or Amazon via this one!

I was delighted to do this email interview with the fantastic Sally Zigmond on her blog. Great questions!


The Paris Winter

So the book is out, the champagne has been drunk and I am back at my desk admiring the lovely flowers my publishers sent. I am wishing the book best of luck out in the big, bad world and getting on with writing the next one.

I write a blog for The History Girls every month, and the last few posts have been about elements of the Paris Winter, the research and the background so I thought I’d just give those links here.

First of all though, here’s something nice the Daily Mail said about me:


And these are those pieces by me:

The Floods of 1910 and why they were an inspiration. Includes links to some great photographs.

Stories of Parisian Belle Époque Jewel Heists

Guides to Paris in 1910

Ada Leigh and her home for young women lost in Pairs

And very nice they were too.

And very nice it seems too so far. You can follow me with the link on the right of the screen if you wish…

I don’t get as much time as I would like these days to read and write poetry, which is a shame. After all, it is only because I started attending poetry workshops with Roddy Lumsden that I ended up writing for a living. I suppose that makes Roddy and all the other poets I met in the workshops sort of honorary god-parents to Harriet and Crowther. Now and them though I get tempted back to poetry, normally when I get offered biscuits or the opportunity to write about them.

Amy Key and Charlotte Runcie have but together a pop-up poetry collection of cakes, chocolate chips and baking in general and I’ve got a poem there today. Whatever you think of my contribution, I promise there are lots of sweet treats to be found on their site. Here is the link.


I’ve blogged about one of the inspirations of Circle of Shadows, the remarkable Count Cagliostro, on The History Girls Blog this week.

Not short of news on the writing front either.

On Thursday I’m at the very fancy shindig for the CWA Dagger Awards. I’m on the shortlist for the Dagger in the Library, which is wonderful. I don’t think I’ve much chance of winning it frankly, but it’ll be a great party.

This weekend, 7th July, I’m at the West Meon Festival of Books with Frank Bernard and Seth Hunter talking about Historical Fiction.

Then next weekend I’m talking 18th century murder during the Kelmarsh Festival of History. You can find details of the different talks here.

So now I can settle down to the edits on the latest novel then start my reading for the next which will be another Harriet and Crowther mystery. Only I keep getting distracted when I spot my new wedding ring…