TCGwape

For more information about how I write, storytelling, Vermeer etc, here are a few videos and articles. There’s more online if you dig.

Writing and quilting
TED Talk: Finding the Story Inside the Painting
Writing, publishing and ebooks
My writing day
Seeing every Vermeer in person
• 2013 article about how I write

I was born and grew up in Washington, DC. After graduating with a BA in English from Oberlin College in Ohio, I moved to London in the mid-1980s. I now have dual nationality, but my accent is still American.

I worked for several years in publishing as a reference book editor, while writing short stories on the side. Eventually I decided to focus on my own words rather than others’, and left office life to do an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. There I began my first novel, The Virgin Blue. After my second novel, Girl with a Pearl Earring, took off I was able to write full-time. I’ve written 11 novels so far, and am working on my 12th.

It's hard to write 8 hours a day; after a while words start to fail. So I do other things too. I’ve also been involved with various organizations: as a Trustee of the British Library, the Society of Authors, the Royal Literary Fund, and the Dorset Museum & Art Gallery; as a Patron of the Dorchester Literary Festival, Lyme Regis Museum, Fine Cell Work charity; and as an Ambassador for the Woodland Trust and First Story charity.

I do a lot of research for my novels since they are mainly set in other times and places. If possible I like to do what my characters do, as then it’s easier to understand it and describe it. So I tried painting when I wrote Pearl Earring; quilting for The Last Runaway; needlepoint for A Single Thread; glass beads for The Glassmaker. I visited a weaving studio for The Lady and the Unicorn; spent time with redwoods and sequoias for At the Edge of the Orchard; looked for fossils on the beaches near Lyme Regis for Remarkable Creatures. Here are some pictures of my research adventures.

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Checking out Girl with a Pearl Earring with conservator Abbie Vandivere

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Picking apples for At the Edge of the Orchard

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Finding an ichthyosaur vertebra fossil where Mary Anning did for Remarkable Creatures

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Becoming a quilter for The Last Runaway

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Admiring the bells at Winchester Cathedral for A Single Thread

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Looking at kneelers for A Single Thread

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Getting close to redwoods for At the Edge of the Orchard

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Trying out rowing in Venice for The Glassmaker

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The beads I made for The Glassmaker

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Watching glassmakers for The Glassmaker

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Making beads for The Glassmaker

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Learning how to make dry stone walls with Jeremy Gavins for my next novel

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Site of the brutal murder in 1826 that I’m writing about for next novel

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Looking around the churchyard where Joe the Quilter, subject of my next novel, is buried



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