I’d decided on the location for my new novel, before I’d even visited it. Savannah, Georgia, is a city I have been fascinated every since I read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, (which I had to re-read before I set off!) Not only is it America’s most haunted city – it’s also…
When Sophie Ellis is asked to house-sit at a luxurious London townhouse, it appears to be the offer of a lifetime. Drawn into the circle of the home’s owner, she meets wealthy Texan businessman Nick Cooper and is swept up into a thrilling and passionate affair. But when Nick is found dead in his hotel suite, Sophie is suddenly the prime suspect for his murder, and soon realises Nick was not the man he seemed. Racing to find the truth and clear her name, Sophie must elude not only the authorities but also a group of dangerous players who believe Sophie has something that they want. And who won’t stop until she’s caught…
Escape with Tasmina Perry from London to New York to the Cote D’Azur, and into a world where a simple case of mistaken identity unravels a web of lies and international conspiracy.
‘Had me hooked from start to finish’ – Daily Mail
I’ve always loved great ‘chase’ movies like The Pelican Brief and The 39 Steps and wanted to write a novel that drew on my love of those sort of books and films.
Post credit-crunch – I also wanted to write about someone that had money – but who’d lost it all and had to start again.
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Rumours can be deadly…
A young associate with a top media law firm, Anna Kennedy is the lawyer to the stars, hiding their sins from the hungry media. But when Anna fails to prevent a damaging story being printed about heart-throb movie actor Sam Charles she finds herself fighting to save not only his reputation, but also her own.
Soon Anna uncovers a scandal more explosive than even Sam’s infidelities. A party girl is already dead and those responsible are prepared to silence anyone who stands in their way. Not least a pretty young lawyer who knows too much…
Step into a world where games are played to mask the truth. Where there is no one you can trust. And where being too good at your job could put your life in danger.
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It was supposed to be the perfect summer…
On the idyllic island of Angel Cay, four close friends celebrate the end of their exams, but one dark night will change their innocent lives for ever. As the years pass and each pursues success in different fields – music, fashion, politics — they try to put the past behind them. But no matter how high their stars climb, they cannot escape the dreadful truth. And when the consequences of that fateful night finally catch up with them, for one of the four, there is a terrible price to be paid…
‘Perry takes you to the glamorous corners on the globe whilst keeping you on the edge of your seat’ – Glamour
‘We loved it’ – Heat magazine
Brooke Asgill is about to marry into one of the most powerful families in the Unites States, and matriarch Meredith Asgill is determined that her daughter will walk down the aisle at whatever cost.
But the Asgill’s are not all they seem and their past is riddled with secrets, lies and tragedy. Enter Tess Garret, a renowned publicist hired to keep the Asgill family ghosts well and truly locked away, at least until the big day is over.
But as Tess works hard to protect the family she opens a Pandora’s box of love, deception and murder that will send shockwaves of scandal around the corridors of power and threatens to blacken the Asgill family name forever. She knows she should walk away from it all, but she hasn’t counted on falling for the black sheep of the family Sean Asgill.
Original Sin is a sexy and provocative tale of lies, secrets and the lengths some people will go to keep them…
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‘An irresistible page-turner’ – Marie-Claire
1958. At eighteen, Georgia Hamilton is sent to London for the Debutante Season. Independent, and with secret dreams to be a writer, she has no wish to join the other debs competing for a husband. But when tragedy strikes, her fate appears to have been sealed.
2012. Hurrying to meet her lover, Amy Carrell hopes tonight will change her destiny. And it does – but not in the way she imagined. Desolate and desperate to get out of London, she accepts a position as companion to a mysterious stranger, bound for Manhattan – little knowing she is about to unlock a love story that has waited fifty years to be told. And a heart waiting to come back to life…
As soon as I stepped into the Last Debutantes exhibition in Kensington Palace in 2010 I knew this was the perfect subject matter for a story. I went to tell my editor about it, but because it was a little different to my usual summer reads we decided that it should be a Christmas read – so I had to write it around my novel Deep Blue Sea, which was also due to come out that year. I wanted it to be as authentic as possible so I spent many months doing research on the 1958 Season. As there is a present day story-line as well, involving our heroine Amy accompanying Seventy-something Georgia on a dream trip to Manhattan, I went on a four day Christmas trip to New York to take in the sights and sounds of the city at that time of year.
The paperback version of The Proposal also contains a finishing school guide – with tips similar to the sort the girls would have been taught in 1958.
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How do you write a novel? I get asked this a lot. Maybe once a week. Our local taxi driver, the window-cleaner, our baby-sitter, mums at the school gate, everyone seems to have a book in them, and why the hell not. Twenty years ago I was at law school and thought I’d one day be making a living writing briefs, not blockbusters.
Anyway – there is both a very simple answer to the question How do I write a novel and quite a long one. The short reply, to paraphrase PG Wodehouse, is to put you bum on a seat and start typing. For a more comprehensive outline there are one or two year creative writing courses up and down the land that will tell you what to do. To find some half way house I thought I’d run a regular blog post On Writing. It’s just my experience. The things I’ve learned and how I do it….
Starting a novel – my story
About fifteen years I started writing my first book. It wasn’t Daddy’s Girls that was published in 2006. It was bad stab at a chick-lit novel about a girl who couldn’t find a boyfriend and although I was aware my idea wasn’t exactly original, the book industry was still riding the Bridget Jones wave so I thought that was exactly what the market wanted. I took a week’s holiday from work, bunked down in a rural cottage and got stuck into it, but left seven days later with nothing but pages and pages of lifeless prose about bedsits, vodka cocktails and shoes.
Truth was, my heart wasn’t it. It wasn’t the book I wanted to write, but the book I thought I should be writing to increase my chances of selling the thing and becoming a professional author. Instead, I didn’t get beyond page forty.
I didn’t start another novel for a couple more years or so. I was at the airport, about to go on my honeymoon, and wanted something to read there. I was after something gloriously escapist, nothing too taxing, a perfect accessory for the beach. But browsing the shelves of Smith’s, I realized that I’d read everything by Jilly Cooper and Jackie Collins – authors that usually fit the sunlounger reading bill. And all those fabulous airport novels from the 1980’s – Shirley Conran, Arthur Hailey, Sidney Sheldon, seemed to have completely fallen from view.
Instead I bought a non-fiction book – a biography about the Mitford Sisters. It was fascinating and got me thinking about what would it be like if there was a group of beautiful, but controversial sisters today. The idea for Daddy’s Girls was formed and I couldn’t wait to start writing it. Within a year I had the first half of my manuscript with an agent, another year after that, the book had reached the Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller list.
So the first thing I’d say is that to start writing a novel you should find an idea that you fall head over heels in love with. I mean – writing a book takes a very long time indeed. You have to crank out the pages before or after work, or at weekends when frankly, there are lots of more relaxing things you could be doing like, watching Breaking Bad with a five pack of curly-wurlies. So, rule number one. Find a idea you love. Create characters you want to spend time with.
Who doesn’t love The Great Gatsby. If yo’ve read it, and re-read it and fancy something dark, yet glamorous and set in the Hamptons, well why don’t you give this a try. I loved it. It was a big hit over in the States and deserves the same over here.
It kicks off in a party in a Long Island beach-house where socially ambitious Claire is attracted to charismatic host Harry. Cue infidelity and betrayal and a smart and sharp look at friendship, marriage and undying love.
Some nice pictures of the Hamptons to make you feel all summery!
When I sit down to write my novels, I like to have a very clear picture in my head of what that person or place I am writing about looks like, (it’s why I usually ‘cast’ them with famous actors and actresses!)
When I was writing Perfect Strangers I knew that the final scenes were to take place in a beautiful and remote Scottish castle. I trawled the internet, visited a few, and finally settled on Eilean Dornan castle as my inspiration. It’s one of the most photographed places in Scotland but it was the perfect place to think about when I was writing those scenes. Here’s some photos from our trip up there. If you’re in the area, I also recommend visiting Eilean Ban – home of Gavin Maxwell, author of the lovely otter story The Ring of Bright Water.
I love Paris. Now wonder it has feature in three of my novels; Guilty Pleasures, Perfect Strangers, and most recently The Last Kiss Goodbye.
One of my favourite things to do in summer is book a cheap Eurostar ticket and head off to the City of Light for the night and it never ceases to feel such a decadent and romantic thing to do. I particularly like going in August. The Parisians are en vacances so many shops and cafes are shut but on the upside, the city has a glorious holiday feel, ‘beaches’ pop up along the Seine and you’re more likely to enjoy the city rather than simply shop. When you’re in Paris for such a short time, pick a couple of arrondissement to linger and browse around rather than rush around Paris trying to see everything.
Watch the world go by from the Seine
Most people cruise the Seine on the tourist boats such as the Bateaux Mouches. I prefer the Batobus. There’s no guide but your ticket lasts all day and we hopped on and off at all the main sights like Notre Dame and the Louvre. I find the cruise is best enjoyed with a box of macaroons sold at most Parisian patesseries particularly the caramelized fennel ones sold at Pierre Herme.
Browse a bookshop
Anyone who loves books should come to the Shakespeare and Co bookshop on Paris’s Left Bank at least once in their life-time. Browse the tome crammed aisles (like Hemingway and Fitzgerald did in their day,) check out the nooks and crankies (I love the tiny writing hut) and listen to someone tinkling on the rickety piano upstairs. And I couldn’t resist leaving a ‘Tasmina Perry was here’ note on the velvet framed pinboard. There are thousands of English books on sale and lots of great talks and special events in the evenings too. I also like the Abbey bookshop round the corner.
Shakespeare and Co – 37 Rue de La Bucherie
Try the world’s best falafel
When my sister lived in Paris we always used to come to the Rue des Rosiers in the Marais for our Sunday afternoon falafel and it’s still a must-do port of call when I come. There’s long queues at the two foodie institutions L’As du Falafel and Chez Hanna but it’s worth the wait.
Chez Hanna – Rue Des Rosiers
Go shopping in the Marais
I love the Marias for its chic, cosmopolitan and buzzy atmosphere. It’s the heart of the Jewish quarter so many shops and cafés are open on Sunday when much of Paris shuts down.
Some of my favourite places are the Zadig and Voltaire outlet shop and a fantastic tea shop Mariage Freres for their delicious assortment of teas and candles. Both are on Rue Du Bourg Tilbourg which is handily around the corner from the falafel shops.
Have a hamman
One of my swankiest every days in Paris involved an afternoon at Les Bains Du Marias followed by supper at Le Voltaire restaurant and if you ever want to treat yourself I recommend either – or both. Les Bains is a gloriously atmospheric spa and hamman in the Marais. The massages are particularly good (although a note of caution – they expect to strip off completely!)
Les Bains Du Marias, 31 Rue Des Blancs
Flaneur with an ice-cream
Pole Sud glace is made with cream and mountain magic in the Pyrenees. But I found it in the La Boulangerie du Papa on Rue de La Huchette. Paris is full of amazing ice-cream. I couldn’t resist another cone from Berthillon which has lots of mouth watering flavours like nougat and peach sorbet. Their shop in on Ile Saint-Louis but many cafes in Paris also sell it. We ate ours on the bridge between Saint Louis and Ile de la Cite and watched a very good street artist ride his bike like a unicycle.
Watch the sunset in Montmartre
People think Montmatre is touristy and tacky but I love it, even although I am less fond of the 300+ step walk to get to the famous Place du Tertre. It’s like stepping back in time at the topof the hill– you half expect to see Toulouse Lautrec sitting at a street-side cafe, whilst the views of the city from the Sacre Coeur are magnificent. My favourite soap shop Fragonard is also at the foot of the funicular/steps on the Rue Tardieu.
Scale the Eiffel
The Eiffel Tower is the most visited paid attraction in the world and with good reason. Book online to save long queue times – I found going to the second floor rather than the top is enough to take in the vista. The best views of the Eiffel can be had from Le Place du Trocadero