Writing

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day! I had hoped to spend today being spoilt with prosecco and cake in some nice cafe - but I'm grateful that my family are healthy and safe at the moment, and spending time with them, no matter what, is the best Mother's Day present. All four of my psychological thrillers are aboutRead More »Happy Mother’s Day!

Life-changing literature

I have dreamt in my life, dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte I first read Wuthering Heights as a teenager, and since then, I've read itRead More »Life-changing literature

Marketing and Me

'I don't much like it. Marketing is about selling & writers, as we know, are about writing and reading. They're generally not known for their ability to get you to buy a Prius when you wanted a Yaris’   I've recorded a podcast about having to market myself for The Royal Literary Fund - publishersRead More »Marketing and Me

The best writing advice I ever received

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      

The Priest and the Lily – the inspiration for my novel about men and flowers

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 indigenousRead More »The Priest and the Lily – the inspiration for my novel about men and flowers

One Year Later – Bethany

I recently saw a set of three mugs in one of my favourite shops. They read: I'm the oldest child - I make the rules. I'm the middle child - I'm the reason we have rules. I'm the youngest child - the rules don't apply to me. I had great fun creating Bethany’s character. She’sRead More »One Year Later – Bethany

Labyrinth – the setting

Setting is so important to me. It's almost like another character, setting the tone and the mood as well, as obviously, the location. My last four psychological thrillers, Bone by Bone, The Stolen Child, My Mother's Secret and One Year Later, are all, or partially set in Bristol, where I lived for many years.  TheRead More »Labyrinth – the setting

Labyrinth – new thriller!

My exciting news is that I'm working on a new book. Provisionally called Labyrinth, it's a re-imagining of Vertigo, the movie directed by Hitchcock. It's a slight departure for me, as it's less psychological thriller / family drama and more of a crime thriller. It's set in Hackney in London, and as you'd imagine, fromRead More »Labyrinth – new thriller!

One Year Later – Italy

I’ve always loved Italy, so when I needed a seemingly idyllic holiday for my family in One Year Later, my current psychological thriller, it made sense to choose Italy. I’ve certainly enjoyed remembering the delicious Italian food I’ve eaten on all those trips, the sandy beaches and the slower pace of life…but as the FlowerRead More »One Year Later – Italy

One Year Later – Dante

I did not die and yet I lost life’s breath… I always like to have a theme or a leitmotif running through my novels and in this one, One Year Later, it’s Dante’s The Divine Comedy. There’s the obvious aspects - it’s set in Italy, it’s hot as hell, but it’s about a young man’sRead More »One Year Later – Dante

One Year Later on Bristol TV

    Bristol TV has just put out a short film about my latest psychological thriller, One Year Later! At its heart, it's a novel about family secrets and grief.