A Glimmer

Writing this on 24th March 2020 – in the strange, sad and confused days we are facing as Britain enters a period of ‘lockdown’ – I will admit I’ve hesitated for a few days before writing this post. It seems so wildly inappropriate to talk or even think about such a trivial thing as a ‘book’ when such a crisis is upon us, and so many people are scared and suffering.

And yet… so many of the (fictional) people I have always written about, were feeling just that.  Scared, suffering, and with no sense – at least initially – of how they would get through whatever they were going through in their world.  In the world of story, writers get to wave a magical wand so we can ‘make’ everything all right.  Not always as easy a task as it might seem, but the end goal is always the same – to give readers the sense that, however badly disrupted our world becomes, we can get through it.  The worthy task of the writer, therefore, is to offer entertainment, distraction, ideas and information and maybe most important of all… to offer the reader some Hope.

It’s where I began, back in 2006/7 when I wrote Pandora’s Box… a story about a mother and her daughter who each go out in their own ways looking for hope… and end up finding love. Five novels followed but the fact is, it’s now been four long years since I brought out the last one, Dear Dad.  For so many reasons, the next novel didn’t seem to want to be written the way I knew it needed to be. It proved so challenging and for so long, that I really wanted to give up. So many times. However, I didn’t!

What kept me going?

This one little fact: having dedicated each of the other six books to a family member, the only one left was my youngest, Andrew. I couldn’t leave him as the only one without a book dedicated to him! I had to plough through with the seventh novel, because it really meant something to me that he should have one, too.

Finally, after four long and challenging years, I can reveal I have just signed a three-book contract with Boldwood Books and my seventh novel will at last be published in all formats (including audio) in September 2020.

To these experienced and knowledgeable publishers who kept the faith in me, I offer a big ‘Thanks!’ And if there’s any lesson to be drawn from this maybe it’s that Hope doesn’t fly in out of the air like a virus… it comes only when we stand our ground and keep fighting for something that is meaningful to us.

For now, confined to barracks as we all are, I have people and worlds to create, fiendish plots to hatch and at the end of it all, a magic wand to wave… the bit where characters can choose (or not) to adapt, view change and challenge as opportunity and forge onwards, just like the rest of us.

For now, stay safe. Be calm and purposeful. Remain hopeful.

Giselle xx




I’ve spent the last fifteen months writing a book that begins with an ending.

It’s a book about a woman who, forced to make two contradictory promises, finds herself in an impossible double-bind. You just know, once she’s forced to choose which one she’s going to keep, that it’s going to hurt. It’s a book about an issue for our times – Identity – and how can we still know who we really are, when everything meaningful that’s gone to make up our life has been swept away?

It’s a book about love and loss, and finding the courage to move on with our arms open. It’s a book about Faith.

angel pic


And, boy, has it taken some faith to stay in there, writing this one. I’d thought I’d completed this story in the spring, but it turned out it was nowhere near done. After five further months of blood, sweat and tears, it is done, now!

Lastly, from its wobbly and unsure inception, it has turned into a love story. Three years ago, chancing upon a moving article about the effects of memory loss on our relationships, a really big question was sparked off in me: can the heart really remember, even when the mind’s forgotten?  I still don’t know the answer  to that one, but I know what I’d like to believe. I hope, one day in the not-too-distant future, you’ll get a chance to see what I made of it.

All my best, for now,

Giselle xxx




Even the longest journey must begin with a single step, they say, but… what if when you start off, you’re headed in the wrong direction?

Trawling through some photos recently, I came across this –


– the suede-bound notebook, with its thick, creamy pages and golden decoration was purchased in Florence the previous year. Back then, full of excitement, I’d wanted a special book to fill with notes and ideas for my new story.  Visiting Michelangelo’s tomb in the church of Santa Croce, I read somewhere that, in carving David, he felt he’d been simply ‘freeing the angel from the marble.’  I knew what he meant.  It felt to me from the beginning that my story too, was already there. Waiting for me to write it. Somehow though, despite my head being full of what I wanted to write – the essence of it, at least – the actual story had refused to come through.

It perplexed me.

Here was I, raring to go, and there was this great idea humming in my head but I somehow couldn’t land it. Putting the special notebook aside, I came home and filled whole exercise books with copious notes. I tried for months!  I spent a lot of time pursuing other activities too. I’d leave it be for weeks, months even and come back to it periodically but still, despite writing many tens of thousands of words over that time, I knew that there was some ineffable ingredient missing in the mix; something that I hadn’t quite crystallised yet. I knew it was missing, that it had to be there; that it had been there for all the others… but… what was it?

I began to wonder if I’d stumbled into the dreaded ‘writer’s block,’ but then, how could that be so? I was penning many short stories for women’s magazines during the year when I couldn’t write this book, so why was this particular story proving so hard to massage into life?  I wanted to walk away from it so many times, but it wouldn’t let me be.  And I felt inexplicably stuck. Unable to move on with it and also unable to let go.

In the end, after a good year-and-a-bit of what felt – in terms of my novel at least – like faffing around, I chanced upon an editor who finally (and very graciously – thank you Kate!) helped me unlock the doors to this elusive story. She suggested a better place to begin, for one. It turns out, among other things, that I’d been starting the story in the wrong place.

Which brings me to the beginning of this piece.

Had I been wasting my time then, going around in circles? It felt like it at the time, but I doubt that’s true.  The journey of a thousand miles may lead you to a destination only three doors down from you and maybe sometimes that’s exactly where your quest will end? Because the thing is; how can we know what we don’t know till we eventually do know it? So no, I don’t think all those months were wasted: it simply took that long for me to know which direction I needed to be going in!

On a sunny morning when my garden was filled with the glorious scent of jasmine, I took another notebook out into the garden and started the novel all over again.

table plus book

I’m delighted to say that – eight months later – I’ve now typed The End.  First draft done, at least.

Now a new journey – to get it out there to you, my readers, beckons ahead…

Wish me Bon voyage!

Giselle xx

Reader’s retreat


Like the angel in the picture, sometimes we just need time to step back in life and think and reflect and recharge. Reading is a pastime that can help us to do that, but it’s usually something we need to ‘fit in’ around everything else.

Now, how’s this for a lovely idea… how would you like to spend three whole days being pampered in luxury surroundings with nothing to do but READ? This is the brilliant opportunity being offered by The Book Analyst Cressida Downing and friend and collaborator Sara Noel, in various venues around the UK for 2018. Part of the package includes the opportunity to spend an evening having dinner with a local author, and I was thrilled to be asked to join their retreat in Sittingbourne, Kent, on March 7th.

I’m looking forward to meeting and chatting with some lovely new readers – there’s only one or two spaces left – might one of them be you?

Further details on the retreat can be found here 

When a picture says a thousand words JUNE 2017

We’ve all heard of ‘judging a book by its cover’… and that’s why it’s so important to choose the cover that will tempt the reader with what’s inside the pages. With that in mind, I’ve given DEAR DAD a makeover … courtesy of the very talented STEVEN BRIGHT… which I hope shows that there’s a very sweet love story going on behind one little boy’s attempts to secure himself a father. I think Steven’s cover says it all. Here it is, just in time for Father’s Day, and with a reduced price for the week leading up to it, you can treat yourselves, girls!dd cover fb sb2


Image may contain: 8 people, people smiling

This week I’ve had some very lovely news:

DEAR DAD has made it onto the shortlist for the prestigious  RNA Romantic Novel of the Year 2017 award. 

Every so often a story you’re working on will grab you on a deeper level and you’ll know you’ve found a ‘book of your heart.’ Dear Dad was one of them. I’ll admit, I struggled with it. I lost my way several times. Deceptively simple as the story seems,  at times, it felt devilishly difficult to write.Some of the main characters hid away from me and I had to spend ages coaxing them out. I am not a man and I am not a dad and I have never been anybody’s son. I never even had a solid relationship with my own father to use as a point of reference … so, what did I know? Many times, I wanted to give it up because it felt too hard, and it was all taking tooooo long (two years, in the end).To cap it all, writing a women’s contemporary fiction novel with such a strong male point of view felt risky. Would my female readership identify with my hero Nate? Would anyone pick it up, let alone want to read it?

Still, I persevered.

Because, as I said, it was a book of my heart. Never mind that it had a male protagonist, I wanted to write a novel about Hope and Kindness. I wanted to write about good, old-fashioned Love! In these dark times I still think it’s what the world is crying out for. I am so glad that I stuck it out. And finally, this week, I am so very happy to have been validated in my choice.

I know that all the novels on this short-list are going to be fabulous, enjoyable reads, and I’m honoured my story was chosen to be one of them.

Now it just remains for me to wish the best of luck to all of my fellow ‘Contemporary Romantic Novel’ category contenders … Monday 13th March is going to be an exciting day for all of us!


Giselle xx






Where the Magic is. Oct 2016.



Just returned from having an amazing time at the Gibraltar International Literary Festival where I was lucky enough to be invited back as a speaker this year. The picture above was taken at the Garrison Library gardens. I was about to give an interview on my latest book, Dear Dad, and this is a venue that’s redolent with meaning for me, being the same place where my wedding reception was held, back in 1979.

The interviewer commented: ‘This book is different to your other books. It’s full of … something.’ She was searching for the right word. ‘Hope, I think? Would you say it’s full of hope?’

‘I think it’s full of magic,’ I told her.

Now, if you think about it, magic is a funny old thing. We go through life waiting for those few, precious, ‘magical’ moments where we can feel transported  by our own joy; by a sense of wonderment and awe, a sense that – whatever it is that’s going on in this world – there is more afoot than we can explain. Even when we go to something like a ‘magic show’ where we know that what we’re about to see is all smoke and mirrors, we still go, because we want to recapture that sense of wonderment and disbelief. We WANT to be shown something that seems logic-defyingly impossible. We WANT to be dumbfounded by an experience so amazing that it blows us away. Even while our rational mind is furiously trying to work it all out, we want to believe. We want to connect.

During my stay on the Rock last week, I had a magical experience when the organisers took five of the authors plus guests out for a boat trip to the Gorham’s Cave complex. As trained biologists, my husband and I were excited. We knew many Neanderthal artefacts and remains had been found in there. The weather was perfect for the trip on this particular day, the sea unusually calm on both sides of the Rock. As we reached the point where the international tankers are anchored off the coast of Gibraltar, the captain turned our little boat back towards The Rock and killed the engine. 120,000 years ago, we were told, all the sea that now surrounds The Rock  – i.e. – the landscape I grew up with – hadn’t been there at all. Instead, it had been a Serengeti-type of terrain where wild hyenas, horses and antelopes roamed. And the Neanderthal cave-dwellers were not the ape-like ‘missing link’ we’d been led to believe, but simply another tribe of humans. Standing there on the gently swaying deck of the boat looking back on the levant-shrouded Rock, I had an epiphanal moment.


It was as if time had stopped, shrunk away.

And I felt a deep connection. To a people who vanished over 30, 000 years ago! My husband felt it, too. Maybe it is because these ancient people lived and prospered and died on The Rock which is such a deep part of our own psyche. Maybe it is because – just for a few moments – we were transported to a new place of connection. The truth is, that it is in the most ordinary, everyday things of life, that we can access true magic.

I think there is a part of us that constantly clamours to reach out to connect. I believe this is what stories are really all about. Both for the reader and, I think, the author. In Dear Dad, it’s the child Adam who galvanises the two main protagonists to reach out for the connection which they all long for.  ‘Real’ magic is about allowing your mindset to be flexible enough to allow in the impossible. Children know this. I believe the ‘child’ part that still resides in each and every one of us still knows it, too.

grainlightIn the last generation or two our definition of what constitutes ‘family’ has shape-shifted beyond what many of our grandparents would recognise. It can be a tough call for one parent to do it all alone … and many tough adjustments needed when families extend through divorce, remarriage and so forth. Yet the need for a child to be loved, recognised and wanted hasn’t changed at all. I wanted to write a book about what it means to be a dad in our modern world. How that doesn’t always have to mean you’re the biological parent. How a guy who acts like a dad, advocates for you like a dad, loves you like a dad can sometimes really BE your dad in an even more significant way than the man who you happen to share your DNA with. And so my latest novel, Dear Dad, was born.

This story is about how one determined 9-year-old kid, Adam, overcomes every obstacle he meets, to get his ‘family needs’ met. In the process, two lonely and heart-wounded strangers who come together to help him, fall in love … but life’s never quite that simple is it? Along the way, a big lie has been told. It’s a lie that could scupper every chance each of them has for happiness.

Writing this story, I’ve enjoyed so much the chance to re-see things from a child’s point of view. Children can be so positive and upbeat about life. They don’t let little things like ‘reality checks’ get in the way of dreaming big dreams. They trust. They have faith! Let’s face it, when you’re four-foot-something or less and have no power whatsoever in the world, you’ve got to have faith that somehow it’s all going to work out – how else would we ever make it? Having had six children of my own, I’ve learned that kids have all the answers we once had, you see – it’s just that we’ve forgotten.

Dear Dad is out now on Amazon as an eBook & Paperback: Here