A hole in the Gatwick main runway, transport chaos across Europe due to unseasonal storms, a cross-continental epidemic of terrorist attacks, including the assassination of Jo Cox, the flames of Syria still raging unabated while the UK news is all of Brexit, British political convulsions, and the Clinton-Trump mud-flinging match: it’s been a pretty tempestuous summer so far, and if I’ve been quiet about it all that’s because I’ve been dealing with a crisis closer to home – more of which anon, in a later post. Today I just want to celebrate an event I’ve been dreaming of  for many years, and only recently discovered would actually happen: the North American release of my first novel, Seoul Survivors. How this day came about is a tale entwined with the fortunes of the global publishing industry, which you may or may not be interested in, but if the latter, hopefully…

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My heartfelt thanks again to everyone who came to the Feb 28th Brighton launch of Seoul Survivors – publication day itself, and also my birthday party. The omens were all good – as guest of honour Julie Lee told me en route from Edmonton, to have both a flood in my flat and a gas leak the day before the launch was an excellent sign for the book. I am certainly not one to argue with Korean-Canadian wisdom! And truly, the gas was back on in time for me to bathe (in the tub, not the flood), and it was a gleaming Seoul train of an evening, missing only the presence of my publisher, the fabulous Jo Fletcher, and her assistant Nicola Budd, who sent their apologies and will meet the juggernaut later at its London stop, date and venue TBA. The train pulled out smoothly at Brighton & Hove’s…

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Congratulations to Romeo Kennedy, winner of THE SILVER BOUGH. It appears that Romeo’s wild strawberries left the competition stranded in a Bergmanesque void, and for that act of magical conquest alone the prize is highly well-deserved! This week’s competition announcement falls on a Day of Cosmic Potency – well, my birthday – and to celebrate I am giving away two JFB novels: my own SEOUL SURVIVORS and Karen Lord’s award-winning debut REDEMPTION IN INDIGO. I’ve blagged enough about SEOUL SURVIVORS on this blog for you all to know what a chillsome, thrillsome, jet-setting prize it is. REDEMPTION IN INDIGO is a marvellous strange world-conjuring fantasy from an author I can’t wait to meet one day. Karen Lord, now a writer and research consultant in Barbados, has also worked as a physics teacher, a diplomat, a part-time soldier and an academic at various times and in various countries. She’s already sounding…

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February gets short shrift in most people’s books – and in everyone’s calendars, even in Leap Years. But it’s always been one of my favourite months – okay, possibly because it contains my birthday, but also because of snowdrops, the subtle phonics of an ‘f’ and semi-silent ‘r’, and the way the lengthening grey days begrudgingly promise spring but still insist we stay curled up at home with a good book. This year, February’s even more auspicious for me: I don’t change decades, but the last day of the month marks the publication of my first novel, cyberthriller Seoul Survivors. To celebrate, courtesy of my fabulous publisher, Jo Fletcher Books, I’m running a weekly book-giveaway competition up until the 28th. (Yes, I know, four Fridays and a Thursday – February can never be a just plain regular month, can it!). Each week I’ll be giving away a different JFB book,…

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Novelist Bridget Whelan and poet Sarah Hymas have both invited me to join ‘The Next Big Thing’, a game of blog-tag in which I interview myself about my next book, and introduce my readers to five more writer friends. Well, the next big thing for me (after my Christmas card list) is the Feb 2013 publication of my first novel, Seoul Survivors! Where did the idea come from for the book? I started writing Seoul Survivors in 1997. I was living in Seoul, teaching English and dancing the weekends away, but the presence of American soldiers, the sad history of a divided country, and the hyped-up military threat from a famine-stricken North Korea were now part of my daily reality.  I was also immersed in a fast-paced, hi-tech pop-culture that seemed years ahead of the West: Korean scientists were making headlines for their advances in cloning technology, and while no-one…

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