Writing Outside the Box
It was a great pleasure to meet up with fellow Instant Apostle authors Katherine Blessan and Heather Cursham at the Writing Outside the Box Creative Writing Retreat at the Westwood Christian Centre. Such an inspirational setting to talk about writing and faith with new and published writers. I was able to share my writing journey and talk about book promotion and social media for authors
12 February 2019
A big thank you to Verulam U3A which meets in Dagnall Street Baptist Church, St Albans, for their invitation to speak about my writing life. Probably about 150 people were there, one of my largest speaking engagements yet, and they were such a lovely audience.
A Summer Evening at Mustard Seed Bookshop, Marlborough
Speaking Schedule 2018
16 March 2018 5.30 pm Interview Verulam Radio
24 March 2018 3.00 – 4.30 pm Book Launch at Park Street Baptist Church
12 April 2018 1.00 – 4.00 pm ‘In Touch’ lunch and talk, Holy Trinity Frogmore
17 May 2018 St Bartholomew’s Book Group
6 June 2018 Oaklands College Creative Writing Class
9 July 2018 7.30 pm Mustard Seed Bookshop, Marlborough
20 September 2018 St Luke’s Bricket Wood Women’s Meeting
Book Launch Invitation
9 February 2018
I’m really excited to share the full cover for my novel, ‘The Gardener’s Daughter’, due out on 15 March. I’m massively grateful to the Instant Apostle editing and design team for the fantastic job they have done with the book.
And just to remind you what the book’s about. Here’s the blurb.
Motherless nineteen-year-old Ava has always believed brilliant botanist, Theo Gage to be her father. But when a chance discovery reveals she is not his daughter, her world falls apart.
Determined to discover her true identity, Ava impetuously runs away and enlists the help of inexperienced private detective, Zavier Marshall. Pursued by shadowy figures, she takes on a new name and follows in her dead mother’s footsteps to work at the mysterious Fun World Holiday Camp.
Penniless and cut-off from everything she’s ever known, and trapped in a deadly game of cat and mouse with a ruthless criminal gang, will Ava survive in a world where she’s more valuable dead than alive? Will she discover the shocking truth behind her mother’s death? And will she find her real father before it’s too late?
If that whets your appetite, it’s available to pre-order now!
Front Cover and Blurb
7 December 2017
After much debate, the final cover for The Gardener’s Daughter has been agreed with the designer, and I think it’s absolutely gorgeous. I love the soft green colour and the sense of menace generated by the tree silhouettes.
We’ve also drafted the back cover blurb. Here it is:
The manuscript has been through copy editing and is now at the proof reading stage. It’s very satisfying seeing a project finally coming together. Launch date is April 2018.
I can’t wait!
THE Book Club’s 3rd Birthday Party
28 October 2017
THE Book Club (TBC) is a wonderful book club on Facebook with nearly 8000 members. I’ve been a member for a couple of years and posted reviews of books I’ve read and had my own books reviewed by members. They held their third birthday party at The Fable in High Holborn, a ‘bookish’ venue with over 200 people present. It was lovely to mix with authors and readers, sign copies of my book, and help raise money for charity at the same time. Copies of The Key of All Unknown were placed in 15 of the 200 goody bags.
1st Bury St Edmunds’ Literary Festival
25 October 2017
As part of the Bury St Edmunds Literary Festival, the Oakes Barn Pub is hosting a Writers’ Cafe from 12.00 noon to 6.00 pm on 25 October. This event has brought together 15 authors selling and signing books and talking about their writing. I will be attending with fellow Instant Apostle author, Annie Try, and we would love to see you there. I will be speaking at 1.00 pm. Follow the link for information about the venue.
Finalist Woman Alive Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award 2017
13 September 2017
It was wonderful to attend the CRT Gala Awards dinner at The Hayes, Swanwick, and see The Key of All Unknown announced as one of the three finalists in the Woman Alive Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award 2017. A massive thank you to everyone who voted. Congratulations to the winner, Catherine Campbell.
10 September 2017
With broadcaster, Andrew Mills, and St Albans artist, Gerry Wilmer, after recording a programme for 92.6FM Radio Verulam with well-known local interviewer, Elspeth Jackman. Elspeth is launching her new ‘magazine style’ faith show this Sunday afternoon. Tune in at 3.00 pm on 10 September to hear what we chatted about.
Shortlisted for Woman Alive Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Competition
It’s so exciting to discover that both my books have been shortlisted for the Woman Alive magazine Readers’ Choice Award. A big thank you to everyone who nominated The Girl at the End of the Road and The Key of All Unknown.
To vote, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Readers’ Choice Award’ in the subject heading, and the title and author of your choice in the main body of the email.
Voting closes on 13 August.
Further details of the competition and the full shortlist can be found on this link.
Book Signing in Tring: 25 March 2017
I’m looking forward to visiting High Street Baptist Church in Tring later this month, fund raising for MECI, a children’s charity working in Togo, West Africa. Projects that are particularly dear to my heart are MECI’s work with disabled children, young people in a youth detention centre, and the Adi United football teams.
14 January 2017
It was great to visit Caxton Books & Gallery, a lovely independent bookshop which is so supportive of readers and authors. They have four reading groups and were willing to give this new author a chance to be read by its members. It was such a thrill to see copies of both books on their shelves, and even more exciting to know they have sold 27 copies of ‘The Girl at the End of the Road’. If you are ever in Frinton-on-Sea, drop in for a browse. They are at the bottom end of the High Street near the sea. As well as books, they have an excellent gallery showcasing local artists.
Thank you Frinton!
Such a beautiful day in Frinton-on-Sea, meeting members of the Caxton Bookshop book group and friends from St Mary’s Parish Church. Having spent the week listening to predictions of snow, ice and tidal surges, our British weather did the unpredictable. The sun shone the whole time!
It was lovely to answer questions about ‘The Girl at the End of the Road’, talk about my writing journey and share about the work of MECI, a children’s charity working in Togo, West Africa. £310 was raised for MECI, and 25 books sold for this excellent cause. Thank you Frinton.
Honourable Mention from Mail on Sunday Columnist Peter Hitchens
I was beyond thrilled to be featured on Mail on Sunday Columnist Peter Hitchens’ blog. Here’s the full text.
“I am sent a lot of books. I feel bad about this because the authors reasonably hope that I may mention them, and I have many time seen in the same position, hoping that other writers will mention my books. Usually they don’t (though when they do I am very pleased) And I understand why not. Generally, there isn’t really time to read them. We all have our own interests to pursue.
But today I’m going to make a slight exception. A few months ago I was sent a novel by someone called K.A. Hitchins with the rather haunting title of ‘The Key of all Unknown’ (this turns out to be a hymn, but not one I’ve ever sung or heard).
This obviously caught my eye. As far as I know, we’re not related. But it did make it harder to leave it to one side. My family name has nothing to with the rather plain Hertfordshire town of Hitchin, in which I once got rather surprisingly lost on a bicycle, but is in fact Cornish (how often I’ve wished it was one of those rugged, jaunty Cornish names like Trevithick or Trelawney or Penhaligon), a local diminutive of ‘Richard’s son’, much like ‘Dickens’, but less euphonious. And it can be spelled with an ‘ens’ or an ‘ins’. And probably with an ‘ings’ as well, depending on where it was first written down in a Parish register. I can’t trace my lot any further west than Avebury, In Wiltshire, where they were making their troublesome path ( as stroppy Nonconformists, I suspect, judging by my grandfather) eastwards towards Portsmouth, escaping the hungry land for the rough and crude life of Pompey’s teeming, cruel back streets in the mid-19th century.
But I gave it (perhaps) a bit more of a chance than if it had been written by someone with another name.
And it turns out to be rather clever. In fact, there were times when, while reading it, I forgot the outside world, which seems to me to be the best test of fiction. Two things struck me especially. It was not instinctively scornful of religious belief; and its central character was trapped inside herself on a hospital bed, the victim of, well, read it and see, conscious of all around her but unable to communicate the many things she knows, but which those around her do not.
I thought this was a clever and timely plot device, and it is well-used. To say more would be to spoil it. But I promised the author I would mention it here, and so I have.”
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside.
14 January 2017
I’m looking forward to joining the Book Group from Caxton’s Bookshop at Frinton Parish Church, to talk about ‘The Girl at the End of the Road’. All proceeds from my books will be going to MECI, a wonderful children’s charity working in Togo, West Africa. Here are the details:
Where: Frinton Parish Church Hall
When: Saturday 14 January 2017 from 10.30-12 midday
Come and have a coffee and get your next read!
4 and 6 December
Two radio interviews in three days!
I was up at 6.00 am for a cold and frosty drive to Dunstable on Sunday 4 December, sorely missing my morning lie in and wondering how radio and TV presenters get themselves geared up for their early starts.
My interview wasn’t until 8.00 – 8.30 am on BBC Three Counties Radio, but interviewer Helen Legh had already been doing the show for a couple of hours by then.
It was a privilege to talk to her about ‘The Key of All Unknown’, and particularly our search for meaning and hope when we are in the darkest of places.
On Tuesday 6 December I battled through the St Albans rush hour traffic to appear on Radio Verulam’s Drive Time Show with Marie Kemplay from 5.30 pm. ‘The Key of All Unknown’ had been selected as book of the month. We talked about whodunits and the twists and turns that keep a reader on the edge of their seat.
I think I’m finally getting over my nerves, though I did go blank when I was asked on air for my website address!
The Reviews are in!
26 November 2016
It’s been just over a month since ‘The Key of All Unknown’ was published. The reviews are beginning to come through on Amazon and Goodreads. It’s always a nerve wracking time waiting to get reader feedback, but it’s so appreciated when it comes. Here’s a selection.
What can I say about this brilliant book without giving spoilers? Twists and turns and I didn’t expect that ending. Loved it. 5*
What a glorious read this is. K.A. Hitchins must be commended most highly for her wonderful use of English. The writing is sublime. Words strung together so beautifully that the book is lyrical and pure joy to read. Tilda Moss, imprisoned by her own body, is a thoroughly believable character. My heart bled for her misfortune. Despite the damage of many of the characters, they all found a place in my heart. This was the most wonderful read, I genuinely couldn’t put it down. A captivating tale told cleverly and beautifully. A definite 5 star hit!
“The language is beautiful, the story compelling, an emotional roller coaster of a journey that made me question my own beliefs and consider some highly philosophical ideas – a highly recommended 5 star read.
How does what is essentially a whodunit from the point of view of comatose patient get to be so absorbing, intriguing and enjoyable? Bloody brilliant, beautiful writing, that’s how. Thoughtful, clever and imaginative concepts, and an ability to engage the reader (well, me at least) in some pretty deep philosophical notions about life and death. So unusual and memorable, this is a real stand-out novel. I thought it was simply marvellous. Well done!
5-stars at the very least!
OMG what a read. Absolutely fantastic. Full of twists and plots. I was stumped with who it could be. This was a book with a difference. Love tilda. Highly recommended. 5*.
First let me start by the quality of Hitchin’s writing. It is outstanding! Poetic and imaginative with metaphors that will linger long after you finish reading the story. Second, the pacing. I loved the continual shifting from the present to the past. I was never confused and always intrigued. And third, the story. It was sad and beautiful and extraordinarily interesting. Locked-in syndrome is not something I was familiar with before reading The Key of All Unknown. Hitchins turned something horrifying and sad into something beautiful with a somewhat positive ending.
What a beautiful story following Dr Tilda. It makes you think and feel about things in a way I’ve never imagined. Even as a nurse I found some hope and warmth in the way this story was written. It will stay with me forever.
I have just read this book in a morning as I couldn’t put it down and all I can say is wow. I don’t want to say anything about the plot for fear of ‘spoilers’ so all I will say is I loved the premise, it was well written, and it will stay with me for a LONG time afterwards.
Such an intriguing story. You are captured from page 1 and held by curiosity throughout. It’s a real page turner! The protagonist explores her life from the restrictions of her damaged body and mind in a desperate desire to figure out how she ended up in her hospital bed. The story develops through glimpses of memories and you are drawn with her on a journey that may be the most significant of her entire life. The author plays with all your senses as a reader and conjours a feeling that it is you trapped in this helpless body. I loved reading this book and heartily recommended it to anyone who wants an exciting read that tugs on the emotions at every turn.
Book Launch for ‘The Key of All Unknown’
I’ve booked the venue, sent out invitations, ordered the glasses and will be off to Waitrose in the next couple of days to buy the prosecco. If you’re free, I’d be delighted to see you at the launch of my second novel on:
Friday 14 Otober 2016
from 7.30 – 10.00 pm
at The Radlett Centre, Aldenham Avenue, Radlett, Herts WD7 8HL
There is ample free parking behind the shops on the opposite side of the street to The Radlett Centre, and Radlett Station is 5 minutes down the road.
‘The Girl at the End of the Road’ was picked as Verulam Radio’s Book of the Month for June. In the middle of a torrential rainstorm, I abandoned the junk floating in my flooded garage and drove through the downpour to the Verulam Radio studios in St Albans, where I featured on Danny Smith’s West Herts Drive Time show. Maria Kemplay grilled me about the inspiration for my characters and plot. It was nearly as nerve wracking as the thunder and lightening! I returned to Park Street to find two fire engines pumping out the end of the road, and a lightning strike smouldering in the field behind our house.
On arriving home, an email was in my inbox inviting me to appear on the Premier Radio Inspirational Breakfast Show with the legendary John Pantry on Monday 13 June. What a great experience!
Waterstones, St Albans
12 May 2016
Come and hear me speak about The Girl at the End of the Road at
Waterstones, 8 St Peters Street, St Albans AL 1 3LF
on Thursday 12 May from 7.15 pm – 8.30 pm
Bring your friends and your book group!
Tea and Cakes in Elmswell
A Pilgrimage to Bury St Edmunds
23 April 2016
Many thanks to Bury St Edmunds Cathedral Gift Shop for hosting my signing event and to Simon for bringing me cups of tea. I was delighted to meet local writer D K Young, author of ‘Thirty Three Good Mornings,’ and to have my photo taken by the East Anglian Daily Times.
Thank you Bromley!
9 April 2016
A big thank you to everyone who came to my book signing in Bromley on Saturday 9 April. It was lovely to see so many old friends and meet some new ones too. I was overwhelmed that 60 people came and 65 books were purchased (an amazing ratio, particularly as some had already bought the book on Amazon). The book has now raised nearly £1,700 for MECI a small charity that reaches out to disadvantaged, disabled and imprisoned children in Togo, West Africa. THANK YOU!
The Key of All Unknown
I’m delighted to have signed a contract with Instant Apostle for my second novel The Key of All Unknown. It should be available sometime in 2017. I love the front cover. I hope you do too. Here is the blurb.
Brilliant scientific researcher, Tilda Mosse, wakes up in hospital unable to speak or move and with no recollection of what happened to her. Determined to find answers and prove to her family and doctors that she is not in a persistent vegetative state, she travels back through her fractured memories looking for clues. An indulged younger brother, an over helpful flat mate, jealous colleagues and a missing lover. Everyone has a motive. On the edge of death, and questioning the value of her life, Tilda’s only hope is to unlock the key of all unknown.
Thanks to everyone who came to my pre-launch bash at the Trestle Arts Base on 22 February. I was overwhelmed that over 230 people came out on a cold, dark night to hear me introduce ‘The Girl at the End of the Road’. After a Q & A with my publisher, Manoj from Instant Apostle, and a short reading, enthusiastic supporters queued for up to 45 minutes to have their copies signed.
As well as selling 131 books, we raised over £600 for MECI on the night, a charity supporting disadvantaged, disabled and imprisoned children in Togo, West Africa.
A Moment of Clarity
Back by popular demand and as part of the St Albans Residents First Weekend, the BeauSandVer Writers present an hour of spell-binding stories and revelations, including a reading from The Girl at the End of the Road. All welcome.
Saturday 23 January 2016, 6.00 – 7.00 pm
at the Oxfam Bookshop, Catherine Street, St Albans
I’ve unexpectedly discovered via Facebook that The Girl at the End of the Road has been featured in January’s Hertfordshire Life magazine under ‘The best of this month’s Hertfordshire-linked books’. Absolutely elated, particularly as the book hasn’t even been launched yet!
‘The Girl at the End of the Road’ has received a wonderful endorsement from renowned Christian author, Michele Guinness.
“This is a wonderful first book from K.A. Hitchins – touching, poignant, inspiring, and beautifully written. I was captivated from the start and raced to the denouement, knowing I’d need to read it again to appreciate fully its many nuances and challenges. Like Vincent, her sympathetic yet shallow narrator, I don’t think I’ll ever see life in quite the same way again, thanks to the extraordinary Sarah Penny, one of the most memorable and unlikely heroines ever created.”
St Alban’s Literary Festival
I was delighted to be selected to take part in the open air story telling event at St Peter’s Church as part of the St Alban’s Literary Festival. The new story circle and story telling chair made by a local artist from a fallen tree are beautiful.
Below: celebrating with playwright, Mo Purdie, after reading our flash fiction stories at the BeauSandVer Writer’s event at the St Alban’s Literary Festival.