Since Amy’s daughter, Ruby-May, died in a terrible accident, her family have been beset by grief. One year later the family decide to go on holiday to mend their wounds. An idyllic island in Italy seems the perfect place for them to heal and repair their relationships with one another.
But no sooner have they arrived, than they discover nothing on this remote island is quite as it seems. And with the anniversary of the little girl’s death looming, it becomes clear that at least one person in the family is hiding a shocking secret. As things start to go rapidly wrong, Amy begins to question whether everyone will make it home …
Receiving criticism about your writing can be excruciating. It sometimes feels like a personal attack because fiction comes from the heart, from the soul. But learning to accept feedback graciously and even to welcome it is what will elevate your writing. Here's my story on the Royal Literary Fund's podcast: https://www.rlf.org.uk/showcase/sanjida-oconnell-bar/?fbclid=IwAR0d_jZqkFWovJN0Qasby5eVSFERvjG8DV-419nUjZMuN_6fef6cYKDrXWo read more →
Many of our most common and beautiful garden plants have come from far-flung locations throughout the world, brought to us by intrepid explorers who have literally risked life and limb in their search for the rare and exotic. Our gladioli originally came from South Africa, rhododendrons from the Himalayas, the monkey puzzle tree is indigenous to Chile, the regal lily was discovered in China and many of our most exquisite orchids originate in the Amazon. The stories of some of these men - for they were mostly men - who travelled the world in search of flowers, and got themselves…read more →
https://youtu.be/SmP_Svt1Elo Today I ran a lesson about villains for homeschool with my nine-year-old daughter. She loved it and created a supreme baddie: Galactica, Queen of the Galaxy, who is 962 years old, born when an asteroid crashed into the Milky Way. She's composed of 'stars, dust gas and magic in lady form'. Great fun, and a suitable topic for primary school English, but actually, it’s a pretty critical subject for any writer. If you want to create a villain with your child for homeschool, we began by thinking of our five favourite villains, what movie or story they featured in,…read more →
Really excited to share my new novel with you - The Priest and the Lily. It's now available to buy from Amazon as an ebook. The paperback is coming soon. Here's what it's about: In 1865, Joseph, a young Jesuit priest and plant-hunter, sets out on a dangerous journey through Outer Mongolia, a land virtually unknown to the Western world. Charles Darwin’s radical theory of evolution has just been published, and Joseph is driven by his passion for science and his love of God. As he crosses the Mongolia Steppes with a Buddhist monk and a local horseman, he…read more →