My book, Far From Home, was shortlisted for the Writers Magazine Self-Publishing Award 2013. A lot of the credit must go to Matador for making my book into such a professional product. I was particularly pleased that in their judgement, the magazine said 'Many entries would be indistinguishable from titles produced by mainstream houses, not least our ... winners and shortlist'. The judges also seemed inpressed by some aspects of my marketing campaign - use of anniversaries and niche markets. I had in fact just come back from France, where I had been checking out my sales in lthe little bookshops by the Joan of Arc tourist sites - a steady trickle of sales to English-speaking tourists.
Many people have expressed interest in the historical facts about Joan of Arc's family members. There is an article on the women's history website www.herstoria.com where I have given the facts behind the story in my novel, and also a page on my website.
Writing, remarkable women, history - all my main pre-occupations came together when I wrote this novel about Joan of Arc's mother. It is my debut novel, and explores this well-known story from a different perspective.
One summer a few years ago I made an overnight stop in Rouen and, as tourists do, went to see the Old Market Place where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake. Like most people. I knew only the bare facts of her life, but I became fascinated by her story and that of her family. What, I mused, must her mother have gone through?
In a blend of historical fact and imagination, my novel tries to answer that question.
In May 2014 I had a different sort of book published, but on a similar subject (much closer to home). A Song of Their Own is a local history about what women in and around Ipswich did to get the Vote for Women 100 years ago. My website has more details.