December 2011 Newsletter

2011 was a busy year of relentless book promotion  – so busy that I now notice I didn’t even update  the blog schedule with some of the events.  In summary though, The Churchills has sold well, and the paperback edition will be published in February in the UK and about May in the USA. My agent is presently negotiating the sale of the screen rights to a film producer whose work I greatly admire and I am hoping that this reaches a satisfactory conclusion.

On October 1st, while returning from giving a talk in Kent, my car was involved in a major high-speed car smash (not my fault), from which my PA and I were fortunate enough to walk out of my written-off Mercedes with just soft tissue damage.  This more or less coincided with my 70th birthday and I decided that I would permanently retire from the lecture/talks circuit and spend my energies writing.

Following the discovery of some important new historic material, which I was not able to use in a biographical context, I had already begun working on a novel about one of my favourite personalities, Bess of Hardwick, and the unsolved real-life murder of her third husband, the love of her life Sir William St Loe in 1565.  This has been my work since the autumn and I will be working on it during the winter.

Meanwhile, I am also researching material for a novel based in Barbados in the 17th Century –  it has a similar theme: three people, passion, money and property, and a probable real-life murder that was never proved. I have been researching this subject for some years and I am now almost ready to begin writing a novel rather than the biography I had originally planned for it.

The Bess novel (working title; The Secret Diaries of Bess of Hardwick) should be completed in February 2012, and the rest of the year will be spent working on the Barbados novel (working title: St Nicholas Abbey).

As always, I am usually contactable by email – wherever I am in the world – at

Happy Christmas and sincere thanks for your continued support!  Mary

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Spring and Summer 2011

Churchills Talks Schedule

The schedule for April – October is still being organised at present and will be posted shortly. The following events are those to which I have already agreed.


12th.  Kings Sutton Literary Festival,  Kings Sutton Memorial Hall, Oxfordshire OX17 3PG. Contact: Rona Rowe


7th Publication date of The Churchills.


9th – 31st  USA lecture tour for Royal Oak Foundation (and others) of East Coast cities: Washington DC., Philadephia, New York and Boston. For times and details please go to


9th.  6.30 The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt, N. Norfolk.  Mary will be in conversation with Brian McArthur (Ex-Deputy Editor of The Times and Books Ed of the Telegraph), and take questions from the floor. Contact: David Makinson tel: 01263 715 858.

23rd. 7pm Beaminster Literary Supper, Bridge House Hotel, Beaminster. Dorset. COntact: Tanya Bruce-Lockhardt at Email:


7th.  7pm Chepstow Drill Hall, Lower Church Street, Chepstow, Monmouth. Lecture organised by Chepstow Book Shop, St Mary St, Chepstow tel: 01291 625011 contact: Matt Taylor.

21st. 2pm – 4pm. Booksigning at Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire.


31st.7.30pm Epping Bookshop, 71 High Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4BA  Contact: Lorna Clark  01992 575849


15th 2pm Woodstock Literary Festival, Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire : one-hour  illustrated talk on The Churchills.  For full details click on:

27th 8pm: Sherbourne Historical Society, Dorset. One-hour illustrated talk  on The Churchills. For full details contact: Kate Harris on tel: 01935 389535

30th 7.30pm. Sevenoaks Literary Festival. Ship Theatre, Walthamstowe Hall  School. One-hour illustrated talk on The  Churchills. Contact Valerie Glencross


2nd. 3pm Henley Literary Festival. One hour illustrated talk on The Churchills. Venue Phylis Court. For  full details contact: Harriet Reed-Ryan on  tel: 0773 991 5109.

7th. 2.30pm. Knutsford Literary Festival. The event will be held in the  Leicester Warren Hall, Bexton Lane, Knutsford. The ticket price is £5 and  tickets will be available from early September, by post. One-hour illustrated talk  on The Churchills. For full details click  on website: on

11th  Brockenhurst Book Club. Members only.

12th. 4.30 – 5.30 pm Cheltenham Literary Festival. Subject: Nancy Mitford Discussion.  Details on website:

13th. 2.30pm  Eype Book ‘n Author  Week, Eype Centre for the Arts, Bridport, Dorset. One hour illustrated talk on The Churchills. Contact Mark Culme-Seymour on tel: 07308 898 420. Or click on:

14th – 31st. Research trip to Syria

NB: No further events after this date untilMarch 2012, due to research schedule.


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