Deanna's latest novel Strangers in a Garden, will be published by Troubador in February 2011. Here's what Deanna has to say about it's background:
"The inspiration for Strangers in a Garden came from a chance meeting one summer's afternoon in the lovely garden of the Chelsea Arts Club.
"I was introduced to an artist. He wasn't good-looking. His shirt was grubby. There was no physical chemistry. but we did have a mental affinity.
"We talked all afternoon. He told me he was waiting to go and try to seduce, that evening, a girl he'd never had any luck with. So I gave him verbal coaching on the art of romance.
"At some point I asked 'Why are we talking like this, when we don't know each other?'. And he said 'Deanna, it's because we're strangers in a garden'.
"We parted. I never saw him again, so I have no idea if he was successful in his Lotharian quest.
"But that phrase, strangers in a garden, stayed with me. I started thinking, as writers do, 'What if . . . what if . . .
Family duties prevented me from doing any more about it then. It was years later, when my husband Nick Kent was driving us on the long journey home from Biarritz, that somehow the whole story came together.
"The result is Strangers in a Garden. A love story. I hope you enjoy it".
Here are some reviews of Deanna's previous work:
Little Blue Room (Ménage à Trois)
‘The difference between this and a hundred other first novels about young girls married to wily wives is that Deanna Maclaren writes with such a lovely, bubbly sense of fun and a hawk-sharp eye for absurdity.’ - Daily Telegraph.
‘A first novel which reads like a tenth, so fluent is the writing and so well-plotted the story.’ - Books and Bookmen.
‘Ms Maclaren’s sense of fun … a solid gold asset.’ - The Times.
‘Written with a gaeity and wit so disciplined that they synthesise into an admirable style.’ - Glasgow Herald.
The First of All Pleasures
‘Miss Maclaren evinces a proper horror of family gatherings (there is a vile, face-stuffing brood in Acton); and her portrayal of the incompetence of office life has enough fantastic ramifications to convince completely.’ - New Statesman.
‘A wickedly observant novel. A winner.’ Sunday Mirror.
‘I liked it immensely. The characters come tumbling off the pages, extremely individualised and real. I was particularly impressed by the author’s ironic humour and her peculiar brand of sadness.’ - Susannah York.
‘I must congratulate you on an excellent novel.’ - Livia Gollancz.
Dagger in the Sleeve
‘In recent times historical novels have been few in the paperback lists. Let us hope that A Dagger in the Sleeve marks a return to a genre that is both instructive and entertaining.’ - Irish Press.
Your Loving Mother
‘Light, witty and observed with an acid bite.’ - Daily Mirror.
‘Brilliantly observed, earthy and hysterically funny. It will make you laugh even while you’re groaning with sympathy.’ - Woman’s Realm.
The Single File
‘I highly recommend it to anyone living alone. It is upbeat in tone, with chapters on on home-hunting, a social and sex life, facing up to phobias and depression and dozens of useful addresses.’ - TV Times.
‘Packed with practical and original advice.’ - Family Circle.
‘Plenty of witty advice on everything from finding a home to entertaining ex-partners.’ - Western Daily Press.
‘Deanna writes with a light, amusing touch, but her theme is serious and her approach positive.’ - Ham and High.
‘This novel enthrall your immediately. Light and funny, the story is fast-moving and grips you from the outset.’ - The Connexion.
Deanna Maclaren was educated at Wallington County Grammar. Leaving at 18, she immediately landed her first job in journalism, on Time and Tide magazine. Subsequently, she worked in Zambia on the Anglo American group newspaper, and then in London for Michael Heseltine’s Haymarket group. Her final stint in journalism was as lead writer on Country Properties magazine.
Her first novel, Little Blue Room, was written when she was 28, and it was accepted by the first publisher she sent it to. Gollancz then also published The First of All Pleasures, but Livia wasn’t interested in developing an historical list, so Dagger in the Sleeve, about James 1V of Scotland, went to W.H. Allen.
Next came Your Loving Mother because Deanna wanted to explore how and why a loving mother/daughter relationship goes wrong.
At this time Deanna was getting divorced and her mother was finding it difficult adjusting to being a widow. This sparked the idea for The Single File – how to live alone and like it. Channel Four Television then asked Deanna to present a series based on the book and as a result she interviewed, amongst others, Elizabeth Jane Howard, Michael Winner and Barbara Cartland.
She now lives in the south of France with her husband of 20 years, Nick Kent. She writes from 6 am to midday and is currently reading Zola, Colette and Jean Rhys as her new novel is set in Paris.
Deanna is also an accomplished and entertaining public speaker, learning from her father who spoke regularly at Speakers’ Corner in London. Her most recent talk was to the British Association in Cannes.
In her spare time Deanna swims, enjoys the opera and making soup. She is frequently in London where she is a member of the Royal Over-Seas League and the Chelsea Arts Club.