Browsing Tag


Around the world in 18 days

Auckland, Sydney, Dubai, London, Oxford, Copenhagen, Yngsjö…

What exactly does a writer do when she’s set free in the big wide world?




She goes to a party

In London, I was lucky enough to go to the RNA’s fabulous summer party, where I met and mingled with lots of lovely authors and publishing industry people. Jenny Colgan won the RoNA award for Romantic Novel of the Year, for her romantic comedy Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams. And the Joan Hessayon New Writers’ Award – there’s me in the photo amongst the nominees! – was won by Liesel Schwarz, for her wonderful steampunk novel A Conspiracy of Alchemists. (Thanks to Marte Lundby Rekka for the photos.)

The RoNa nominees - winner Jenny Colgan is second from right.

The Joan Hessayon nominees - winner Liesel Schwarz is second from left, I'm third from right.

The Joan Hessayon nominees – winner Liesel Schwarz is second from left, I’m third from right.

She does a bit of sightseeing

Some things you just have to do – ‘research’ and ‘sightseeing’ are two sides of the same coin after all! And some special places just have to be revisited. Hello, Trafalgar Square…


















She walks in the footsteps of great intellectuals (it might rub off a little, right?)

I wandered – and dodged a few bicycles – amongst the dreaming spires of Oxford, where even the statues are studious! (We don’t need to mention how long it took to finish my degree!)








She explores a fairy-tale town

I visited with Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, as magical a place as you always imagined. And yes, they have Great Danes in Denmark!













She goes home (from home)

In beautiful Sweden, my second home, I spent time with greatly-missed friends and family (the honorary, exchange student kind) and rediscovered my rusty Swedish. Check out the YouTube clip at the end of this post to hear how it’s really done! The yellow building in the photo below is my old high school. Yngsjö – and all of southern Sweden – was at its glorious, newly-sprung spring best. It’s just as beautiful whether you can pronounce it or not!

IMG_2735IMG_2783Serena in SwedenYngsjoIMG_2759 IMG_2884












And finally, she goes home for real



It was 60+ hours travelling time, and more than 25,000 miles there and back – not including an unexpected diversion to Melbourne. I really was all over the place! But the jetlag was more than worth it for the joy of stepping right back in with much-loved friends, and meeting online author friends for the first time. Amazing memories, fresh perspectives, and something extra special – the outline for a new book!

Now to go and finish the current one…

Happy travels everyone! 🙂



(P.S. None of this adventure would have been possible without my guy holding the fort at home – filling lunchboxes, doing laundry and cooking dinners, while still running a company. That’s my kind of hero. ♥)


Tom Petty was right

There’s a lot of waiting going on at the moment. Everyone here in New Zealand has been waiting for the long, hot summer holidays. The kids are waiting for Christmas Day, resisting the temptation of the presents under the tree. Some people are waiting for the fresh start that the new year brings. And me? I’m nervously waiting to see what the designer will come up with for the cover of my first ever book, All Over the Place. And, of course, I’m counting down to February 18 – release day!

Sometimes the waiting really is the hardest part.

The answer is to keep busy, and make the time go faster. So that’s what I’ve been doing, and the result is one amazing early Christmas present – this gorgeous website! Thanks to Lewis, my super-talented (and very patient) web expert, who has worked so hard to help me get it up and running.

Now that All Over the Place is so close to publication, I realise what an incredible amount I’ve learned so far. In years past, writers only had to do just that – write. There was no blogging, tweeting, Facebooking or worrying about search engine optimisation. No one had to teach themselves the ins and outs of Amazon, Draft2Digital, widgets and plugins. Anne Tyler (one of my favourite authors) had until recently only granted two interviews in the fifty-something years of her career.

So times have changed – but maybe for the good. If they’re able to embrace the new possibilities, authors have the power to shape a career on their own terms. ‘Hybrid’ authors like New York Times bestseller Nalini Singh, from here in New Zealand, are enjoying the best of all worlds, combining traditional publishing and self-publishing.

And the people! I’ve had so much fun meeting other writers and book addicts, both in person and online. And I’ve been amazed and heartened by the way other writers all over the world – published and unpublished – generously share support, advice and encouragement. Sue, Kristine, LaVerne, the RNA authors, Kristy, Nicole, Toni, Lisa, Kari, Cait, all the Ladies in Red, and so many others – I can’t wait to see what success you have next!

Merry Christmas everyone, and may you receive everything you’ve been waiting for in 2013.