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How to Live a Thousand Lives

My column for the April edition of the Hawkesbury Parish News

“The reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R R Martin

Photo of a groundhog
Don’t let your life be full of Groundhog Days (even though groundhogs are pretty cute)

While we may not be able to dictate the course of our own lives, we can control the other 999 simply by selecting the best books.

I tend to choose the kind with happy endings: light-hearted novels featuring characters I’d like to spend time with, in settings that I’d like to visit. But I also like a bit of variety, to avoid Groundhog Day syndrome. After all, what’s the point of living a thousand lives if all of them are pretty much the same?

So I often step outside my comfort zone. This year, between pleasant novels, I’ve enjoyed a history of anaesthesia, the biography of a famous author, an anthology of poems about the sea, and the collected letters of a British comedian. By the time I reached the end of each book, I saw the world in a slightly different way. We are all forever changed, at least a little, by every book we ever read. Even in the age of the internet, the humble book still has almost magical powers.

Surely that’s got to be worth celebrating? If you agree, come and help me do just that, in the company of around 20 authors, poets, and illustrators, on World Book Night, Thursday 23rd April, at the new free Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. (See separate page for details) But, in the meantime, I’m off to read a good book…

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New cover for Quick Change

If you’re after a good book to read, you could do worse than choose one of mine! Quick Change is an upbeat read for spring, packed with 20 very short stories – 22 if you buy the paperback, with its two extra bonus stories! Now available from all the usual online stores, and can also be ordered from your neighbourhood high street bookshop.


English author of warm, witty cosy mystery novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Gemma Lamb/St Bride's School series. Novels published by Boldwood Books, all other books by Hawkesbury Press. Represented by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agents. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. Course tutor for Jericho Writers. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors. Lives and writes in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

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