fiction

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