For a long time, I’ve been trying to find some balance in my writing life. A balance between finding enough time for my passion and stopping it bleeding into family time. A balance between creating words and reading them. A balance between consuming story-telling in books and story-telling on screens. A balance between my words […]

Since leaving a nine to five job, I’ve grown more introverted. My extroversion, necessary for my previous job, was always a skill learned from being part of a big, boisterous family. Today, I prefer interactions in smaller groups. Large gatherings feed my curiosity about people but are ultimately draining. In a world full of megaphones, […]

I didn’t make a concrete plan at the beginning of this year. I knew I had a novel to write this year, perhaps two, but other than that, I thought I would just be. The political landscape has been so tough these past few years, so draining, that living in the moment sometimes seems like […]

It’s the start of a new year. We leave behind a year that many of us won’t miss, a year which seemed relentless with global news and human meanness.  I realise now, there is a limit to our control. We can stand up for our beliefs, we can make art, and treat others with kindness […]

Today, there’s a bottle of red wine at the ready on my counter because I’m celebrating the launch of Hidden Colours, my book about an imaginary immigrant circus in Berlin. Yusuf’s story is about compassion and grief, and how a little kindness can have a big impact. What a whirlwind it has been writing this novel […]

Today, for In the Armchair, I’ll be talking to one of my dearest friends Lynz Crichton about her music career.  Lynz also generously agreed to write a track to accompany my new novel Hidden Colours, which will be released next week. I’ll link to the track at the end of our interview. 1. Tell us […]

  All the Tomorrows is a year old today, can you believe it? To celebrate, the e-book will be reduced to £1.99/$1.99 until 12 November, and the UK paperback is discounted too. The book has found lots of fans, and I’d love it to reach even more readers. If you haven’t yet grabbed your copy, […]

Today, as part of a new blog series called In the Armchair, where I’ll be talking to creatives, I’d like to introduce Richard Robbins to you all.  Richard is a fellow author of literary fiction at Evolved Publishing. I interviewed him about his novel Love, Loss, and Lagniappe, which has been receiving glowing advanced reviews […]

I’ve been thinking recently about superstitions. How even in our post-enlightenment, educated world, with reams of information and expertise at our fingertips, superstitions still have a strong hold. I’m a logical woman and yet sometimes superstitions creep up on me like a beacon from a past life.  Bad luck superstitions Superstitions, of course, are beliefs […]

Do you believe that each of us has a unique gift to share with the world? I do. I look at my children now and am aware of the responsibility to introduce them to new experiences and knowledge so they can uncover their passions and begin to understand who they are at their core.  Recently […]

Those of you who follow me on social media may have heard me talk about Hidden Colours, my next literary fiction novel. It has now seen my wonderful editor’s magic pen and is due to be released in early December.  I’m so excited and nervous to see it make its way in the world.  Hidden […]

Sadness comes  the cresting of a wave  on a quiet beach catching us unawares like the sting of a wasp  on tender flesh   Sadness finds us  between rumpled sheets though we smooth them out  a creeping vine with the stealth  of a summer wind  chilling to frost   Sadness slips  into the crevices of  […]

I first heard of the British Pakistani author Kamila Shamsie in 2012, although by then she’d been published for over a decade. I spotted a story about her in The Guardian after she’d spent a few days at Artangel’s A Room for London project, when a boat was mounted on top of the Southbank Centre, […]

It was a joy to play with some flash fiction today, courtesy of Charli Mills’ wonderful community at The Carrot Ranch. Those of you who have read this blog since the early days, when I was just starting to build relationships with other writers on Twitter, know flash fiction has always been a love of […]

I wrote this piece of flash fiction a few months ago, and at first I wasn’t going to share it. I don’t often talk about religion here, unless it comes up in the context of my characters. There are so many facets of identity, and for me, being Muslim is one of them. Personal faith […]

When I was twelve years old, sleepovers were a giddy affair of crumpled clothing, whispered secrets and superhuman effort forcing sleeping bags back into their cases. Then came a run of horror movies and it seemed no adults really had oversight over what we watched. I expect we were very sneaky. In quick succession, we […]

I am sad. There I said it. I don’t like to be the sad one. Not that there’s anything wrong with being sad: we all feel like this sometimes, and some more than others. In fact, I’d argue that if you don’t feel sad sometimes then your skin is probably too thick, and you might […]

I’m nearing the end of the first draft of Hidden Colours, my second novel, scheduled to be released in late autumn. The novel is set in modern day Berlin. My husband is from Berlin and we studied there together, and sometimes we dream about living there again, but that’s a story for another day. I’ve […]

A very long time ago, I read Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. I’ve not revisited the novel in years – the last time was seeing the 1995 adaptation featuring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet (and oh, how I still miss Alan Rickman) – but this week memories of it surfaced while I worked on my current novel. […]

This post was originally published in Open Thought Vortex magazine, a wonderful place for discovering new writing. Traditions can be the smallest things. The Spanish wearing red underwear at Christmas. A football team supported by generations of a family. Your grandmother’s curry recipe. Strawberries and cream at Wimbledon. Bonfires on Guy Fawkes Night. Carving pumpkins. […]