Friday, 31 January 2014


Today I'm over at iHeartspresents, talking about the inspiration for my latest book.
And here it is…

A copy of the painting used to hang on my bedroom wall when I was a teenager, and I used to imagine that I was The Lady Of Shalott.  
It wasn't much of a life, was it?
Pacing that small room.  Looking in that mirror and seeing the reflection of the man she loved, who didn't even know she existed.  Giving into the irresistible temptation to feast her eyes on him properly and then listening to the sickening sound as the mirror cracked from side to side and the web flew out, like a horrible dark spectre of a curse.  
I imagined the east wind straining as she made her way down to that boat, probably freezing cold in that lovely white dress and getting mud on her delicate slippers (though we're not actually sure what she was wearing on her feet).  I thought about how heavy the chain must have felt as she picked it up to loosen it, before laying down on the hard wood, with her blood growing cold in her veins as she floated down the river….

And do you know what used to make me madder than anything?
The fact that Lancelot - the man she had died for  - could give such a wimpish response when he saw her corpse bobbing its way into Camelot.
  But Lancelot mused a little space;
  He said, she has a lovely face;
  God in his mercy lend her grace,
  The Lady of Shalott.

I was like, IS THAT ALL?

Anyway,  the book it inspired is called SHAMED IN THE SANDS, and you can read more about it here

So what inspires you?


  1. I think that sadly, in the manner of teenage girls shut away in single sex boarding schools developing whopping great crushes on Justin Beiber, the poor Lady of Shalott had her head turned way too easily by Lancelot's blingtastic armour and mighty bugle. So much so that she overlooks what he's actually doing when she first sets eyes on him, which is singing 'tirra lira.' Really?? Tirra lirra. That makes a One Direction song seem like Leonard Cohen.

    I loved the poem when I was younger too, and I had the Waterhouse print on my wall! At the age of 15 I could totally empathise with the idea of dying romantically for a pop-star hero like Lancelot with coal black curls and brazen greaves (whatever they are) and probably a bit of eyeliner too, since that was the 80s. Now, with the wisdom of maturity, the story seems tragic for a different reason. If only she'd left the tower to join the market girls, and earned herself a bit of cash to go off and see the world. She could have sold her embroidery silks.

    1. I know, I know. She was done over like a kipper!
      But whenever I read:
      From underneath his helmet flow'd
      His coal-black curls as on he rode,
      And as for thick-jewell'd shone the saddle leather…
      Must stop.
      Have just delivered book with Argentinean hero who just happens to have coal-black curls….

  2. How interesting how you both were inspired by the Lady of Shallott. Anne of Green Gables was too -- hence, the wonderful, but disastrous scene - YouTube viewable by clicking on my name link above
    Unfortunately the clip doesn't include the rescue by an intrigued, but wry faced Gil when Anne tries to keep her haughty dignity despite the embarrassing circumstances!
    J x

  3. Ignore that first link -- this is a far better, and more complete, version, including the unwelcome resuce by Gilbert!

    I think a boxset of Anne of Green Gables would be one of my desert island choices ...

    J x

  4. Anne of Green Gables is a lovely romance where we get to see beyond the Happy Ending to the real Happy Ever After. But Rilla's romance would never fly in HM&B land. He is only on the page for about three scenes.