Observatory header image

The Observatory

Articles and guest posts

Frances has from time to time been asked to write articles or guest blog posts for other sites! Here are the links to them all, collected together.

  • Frances blogs once a month for Girls Heart Books.
  • Gaps in the MapArmadillo magazine (2014)
    "Sometimes maps are inadequate because they cannot show the grandeur or charisma of the landscape they describe. And sometimes, just sometimes, because the landscape cannot be trusted to stay still."
  • All in the Wrist – The History Girls (2014)
    "I wonder whether the practicality of wristwatches would have been recognised sooner if women had not already been wearing them. Since they were female fashion accessories, surely they could only be flimsy, foolish and impractical? Like women themselves, the wristlets proved during the Great War that they were not simply frail ornaments, but could stand up to practical challenges. Afterwards, neither could be regarded in quite the same way again."
  • Inspirations and Influences – The Book Smugglers (2014)
    "Is there a monster in the house, and what should they do about it? Tensions surface. Alliances form. Fear of the inhuman strives with fear of committing inhuman acts. Some make bad decisions, and others make good decisions too slowly. The final scenes are pure nightmare."
  • Secret Seven – Serendipity Reviews (2014)
    "I spent time in the London Transport Museum, clambering about on their trams and taking notes. I even wrote to the Museum, with questions that started out fairly sane-sounding ('Did trams have electric lights inside? Were they all double-decker?') but quickly descended into weirdness ('So... could you open any of the windows wide enough to push someone out through them?')"
  • Random Facts about WWI and the 1920s – My Kinda Book (2014)
    "Back in the 1920s, jelly babies were called 'Peace Babies'. Originally they had been called 'unclaimed babies', but when the Great War ended, the name was changed in celebration. (Personally I think 'unclaimed babies' sounds a bit sinister, as if they're poor little multicoloured orphans that you adopt and then eat.)"
  • Where I Write – My Kinda Book (2014)
    "There are also lots of silver-eyed jackdaws, making sarcastic 'chorb' noises from the trees, and a thriving population of chatty, feral, bright-green parakeets, who don't seem to mind the chilly British weather at all."
  • Top 10 Writing Tips – My Kinda Book (2014)
    "Hungry people lose concentration and become cranky or dizzy. Tired people squabble, forget things, have slower reactions than usual and sometimes even hallucinate. Travellers who have trekked for a week without being able to wash properly will probably smell pretty bad. You can use details like this to make your characters more believable."