Blog tour: Goose Road – Rowena House


In 1916, in France, Angelique is making Hay on her family’s farm when the postman delivers news – her father is dead. Angelique is not sorry – he was a cruel, drunkard of a man – but she is deeply relieved her brother, Pascal, is still alive. She makes a promise – then and there – that the farm will remain exactly the same until he beloved brother returns home. She hopes, desperately, that if nothing changes at home, he won’t either.

Of course, nothing goes to plan. The harvest is ruined by a storm, her mother falls ill and the bailiffs arrive, ready to repossess the farm after her father has gambled it away. Angelique sets off with her treasured flock of Toulouse geese to sell them to make enough money to save her family home and await her brother’s return…….

About the author;

Rowena studied journalism at LSE…

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GUEST POST: Rowena House on the unheard voices of World War One

Sarah Likes Books &

Hello again folks, and happy spring! It’s been snowing here, and I’m feeling a little like winter is overstaying its welcome. However, those seeds of intentions are starting to wiggle about in the earth (what can I say, I know my botanical terminology) and yesterday I was brainstorming the latest incarnation of this blog. WATCH THIS SPACE, but like, not too closely, as you might be watching for a while.

Goose road jacket

In any case, I am super excited to have a guest post for your reading pleasure from the author of upcoming The Goose Road, Rowena House. Like Rowena, I’ve had an interest in this period of history since reading the war poets at school (and then reading Pat Barker’s Regeneration) and I still feel some connection with Wilfred Owen, living in Edinburgh and being somewhat familiar with Craiglockhart, where he was treated for shellshock in 1917. I’m really…

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The Goose Road Blog Tour

Thank you for such a wonderful review. xo


thumbnail_Goose road jacketGrab a mug of tea, get comfy…today is the start of a blog tour for the brilliant book, The Goose Road!
Yes that’s right hello!! It’s me, back with (yet another) blog tour, but today I’m spoiling you! Not only do you get my review, you also get a chance read a little extract of The Goose Road by Rowena House!

Not enough? Okay, how about A GIVEAWAY!!!!thumbnail_Rowena House headshot (Walker)

Yep, you got it! I am giving you the chance to win one of 2 copies of The Goose Road! The Giveaway is UK only (sorry guys!) but more on that later.

Big thanks to Jo who send me my copy of The Goose Road and is letting me have 2 winners!

First up I’ll give you the extract (cause I’m nice like that), and I hope it’ll entice you to want to read more and enter the giveaway!!

I’m turning hay…

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Five Lessons To Combat Book Two Blues

The new work-in-progress isn’t progressing very quickly – which is hardly newsworthy. What Book Two ever went well?

In fact, in common with most debut friends of mine, this isn’t Book Two at all: rejected pitches litter my computer files, abandoned story ideas clog up my Creative Folder, and an entire 88K manuscript sits somewhere on an old hard drive.

Being fore-warned of the time it will take, the labour and love required, the commitment, the research, the inevitable disappointments, and (if I’m really, really lucky again) another long wait between completion and publication, isn’t the same thing as being fore-armed.

Frankly, part of me thinks it’s madness to start again.

Yet another part of me keeps whispering that what I now know about editing might (just might) make the whole business of producing another publishable manuscript less overwhelming second time around.

So what lessons has hindsight taught me?

First, write with passion and instinct initially. Over-plotting is a killer. But at the same time bear in mind that sooner or later we do have to answer the big questions: what is the heart of this story? What one scene/idea/moment would I save if I had to erase the rest? And what does that say about the story I think I’m trying to write.

A lot of writing gurus say the answer to that last question about the core of a story – its underlying meaning – only emerges at the end of a first full draft. I don’t know about that. I think I had a sense of what I was writing much earlier than that with The Goose Road. But it certainly did require time and distance from the first draft to look back with sufficient perspective to discover that a lot of what I thought I’d written wasn’t actually there.

How much time & distance? For me, it took a full six months, working pretty intensively on another story, one I murdered by over-plotting.

But I also believe it was the very act of over-plotting – of analysing “story” objectively – which brought into clear relief the formal structures that were missing from The Goose Road. Okay, I had an Inciting Incident (several, in fact!) but also great dollops of irrelevant junk, and no proper character arc. I rewrote Acts 1 and II almost completely over the course of the following six months.

So I guess Lesson One for me has been: write with passion, then somehow find the headspace to be ruthlessly objective, and the patience and self-belief to rip Draft One into pieces…

Continue reading on Awfully Big Blog Adventure where this first appeared on Feb 15, 2018 here

The Book That Changed My Life. Read on to discover yours – by Rowena House


OK, so this is a thought exercise, an attempt to funnel life’s complexity into a bookish article, because – surely – no one work deserves the title of The Book That Changed My Life.

That was certainly my conclusion when I tried to shoehorn Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own into the box labelled The Book That Changed My Life for the sake of ticking this blog off my to-do list.

Ms Woolf inspired me, yes. She influenced me, certainly. But in the end I didn’t retreat to a Bloomsbury apartment, with the modern equivalent of 3% net return on capital, to write great literature as a result of reading her oeuvre.


Putting her back on the shelf, I wondered if there was an approximation to be found, a book whose influence was sufficiently profound that I’d be happy to have it quoted back at me.

At first…

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WW1 & Votes for Women

Today, as the centenary of legislation which gave the vote to some British women is being celebrated by women MPs in the House of Commons, on an all-woman BBC Radio 4 Today Programme – at last! Hurrah! – and (hopefully) in schools across the country, here’s a quick look at The Representation of the People’s Act 1918, and how it passed through parliament during the First World War.

By 1916, two years into the war, the British electoral register was no longer fit for purpose. Had a new register been prepared along pre-war lines, only half of the country’s eligible electors would have been able to vote because war work had taken the other half away from their homes – and residency was a condition of registration. Politically, this was unacceptable since it meant British soldiers fighting abroad were among those disqualified to vote. The vital war work being done by women also undermined pre-war arguments against granting them the vote, too.

A Special Register Bill (1916) attempted a temporary solution, but failed to address the problem of disenfranchised soldiers; this Bill was dropped.

Finally, in 1918, all previous voting rights were repealed by The Representation of the People’s Act, which gave male soldiers aged 19 and over the right to a vote, as well as all men aged 21 and over. Women had to wait until they were 30. They also had to qualify to vote in local government elections through property ownership – or be married to a man who was – before they could vote for their MP.

The 1918 Act did give single women over 21 the right to vote in local authority elections, and ended a ban on people in receipt of poor relief or alms from voting. Conscientious objectors, however, were prohibited from registering to vote until five years after the conclusion of the Great War.

Equal voting rights for men and women were never seriously considered under the 1918 Act. That was because gender equality would have given 14 million women the vote, a majority over men. At the time it was considered unacceptable that men who’d fought in WW1 could be out-voted by women who hadn’t. Instead, the 1918 Act gave 8.4 million women a parliamentary vote so male voters would continue to outnumber females.

While special provisions were made for serving soldiers, including proxy & postal votes for those still in France and Belgium, munition workers who’d had to move house to be near armament factories were excluded from the 1918 Act, so they couldn’t vote for the next government.

It took a further ten years before The Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act 1928 gave equal voting rights to men and women for elections in the UK.



Interview with Kathryn Aalto about her “amiable field guide” to the 100 Acre Wood

Landscape designer and historian, Kathryn Aalto, created an “amiable field guide” to the Hundred Acre Wood, where Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet once wandered with Christopher Robin. She talked to me aboutThe Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood” for Words & Pictures, the SCBWI’s online magazine.

Rowena: Helen Macdonald said when she received the Costa Award this year that her memoir, H is for Hawk, is intended as a “love letter to the English countryside and all that we’re losing and have lost”. Does nostalgia play a part in your love affair with English landscapes?

Kathryn: My love affair with the English landscape is a torrid one, that’s for sure. It’s a mix of nostalgia as well as discovery. As an expat from California now living in Devon, I didn’t grow up with an ancient network of footpaths as we have here. They’re a revelation. A couple years ago, my family and I walked the Coast to Coast Path from the Irish Sea to the North Sea. The kids had direct exposure to nature: they navigated guidebooks, read maps and searched the landscape for trails. It was a pivotal experience, like A. A. Milne experienced in the 1880s, one he recaptured with Christopher Robin wandering in the Hundred Acre Wood. But in terms of nostalgia, childhood has changed so much since the first Winnie-the-Pooh was published in 1926. Since then, there’s been a decline in native English meadows by 90%, and children can no longer wander freely like their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents did. Milne had tremendous freedom to explore and indulge his imagination. Few children enjoy that today. I’m also nostalgic for childhoods before electronic diversions were so prevalent. With so many footpaths in England, there’s always a place for us to walk and explore.

Read the full interview here: