THREE WORDS, IN BRIEF: Serena, a mermaid, gives up her magic to be with Steve. When he betrays her she is cursed to return to the sea as foam unless she can find another love within a year and a day who will tell her he loves her. Unable to tell anyone of her predicament, she returns to the seaside town where she came ashore to wait out her time, there meeting Seth, his close friends Ethan, Gaia, Tallie and Rob and his Great Aunt Rose. Gradually she begins to find a new life amongst them and she and Seth realise that they have feelings for each other. But Seth has been in and out of a toxic relationship with Jessica for several years and this, along with his difficult childhood, has made it very difficult for him to trust anyone. Love is just a word to him. He is used to people leaving. Although the kindest person imaginable, his behaviour alters when he and Serena become romantically involved; his doubts make him run. As time ticks by Serena realises that she too may have to leave Seth and with a very unsatisfactory explanation, breaking his heart again and compounding his mistrust.

I invited Izzy Robertson, healer and author of four novels published by Magic Oxygen, to write about love and how she explores that theme in her new novel Three Words.

Izzy writes: 

‘Three Words is an exploration of relationships and love, with its many forms and facets. Love can be the purest and most powerful force for good on this earth. But there are many things that can masquerade as love, and some of them just aren’t. Obsession, possession, manipulation, guilt, false expectation; these all feed into the emotions we have around love and how it should be and can completely destroy trust and relationships.

The book is very loosely based around the fairy tale The Little Mermaid, but pleases don’t be put off. It’s not Disney, I assure you! The original fairy tales as I’m sure you know were very much darker and far from sugar sweet. That’s where my interest lies.

But this story is not just about romantic love. Continue reading LOVE TALKS


Pam Uschuk

I interviewed distinguished American poet Pamela Uschuk, winner of numerous prizes including the War Poetry Prize, New Millenium Poetry Prize, Struga International Poetry Prize and the Dorothy Daniels Writing Award. In her latest collection, Blood Flower, Pamela writes about the startling, sometimes brutal stories of her Russian/Czech immigrant family and the long-term effects of war on combatants.

‘My concern with war is a theme throughout my life.’ ‘I think in my family, I am the keeper and maker of the stories.’



LINDSAY DESCRIBES HER PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Over a 38 year career as a speech and language therapist, I’ve worked with clients with a wide range of difficulties; children with speech and language delay and disorders, and adults with swallowing or speech and language impairment arising from a stroke, brain injury or neurological disease such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease and Motor Neurone Disease. I’ve also worked extensively with people who have had swallowing, speech and voice problems caused by cancers of the head and neck but my abiding love is working with voice problems which is my specialism. I work with people across the spectrum from children to nonagenarians, with a variety of voice disorders from simple muscle tension dysphonia to complex psychogenic problems.

I interviewed author Lindsay Bamfield, a founding member of Greenacre Writers and an organiser of the Finchley Literary Festival. I asked Lindsay what she has learned from her literary experiences and her work as a speech and language therapist.

Leslie: Can you describe how speech therapy techniques have helped you and others towards deepened self-expression and self-understanding?

Lindsay: In the past I worked with many people who were aphasic, a language disorder usually arising as a result of a stroke. It can affect both comprehension of spoken and written language as well as verbal and written expression. I wrote about the experience of aphasia on my blog: Aphasia does not affect intellect and thought processes are usually unimpaired but the difficulty in translating those thoughts to the outside world is compromised. It was my job to help facilitate that communication. Assessment establishes the individual’s strengths and weaknesses so we use the strengths to work on the weaker areas. Continue reading LINDSAY BAMFIELD – VOICE SKILLS & FESTIVAL ORGANISER


Neil Beardmore

Neil Beardmore is a multi-talented dramatist, poet, musician, photographer and artist. He is a winner of The Sussex Playwrights Prize, the Richard Burton Poetry Prize and his play, Pristine in Blue was staged at the Milton Keynes Festival. Recently his debut novel Lemon Seas, set in India, was published. As Neil also has paintings and a second major play set in the country, I asked him to write about his creative relationship with India.

Neil writes: Continue reading INDIA, MY MUSE


Paul Sandford

Paul Sandford is an interfaith minister, rooted in both Druidic and Buddhist practices, who has studied counselling, mindfulness and compassion-based meditation. He is also an active member of the Green Party. I asked Paul to describe what he has learned so far about life…

 ‘I remember as a teenager being told by various people that there are three subjects best not to talk about, these being Politics, Religion and Sex! Yet those subjects for me are the most fascinating things to talk about. So, taking them in alphabetical order… Continue reading POLITICS, RELIGION AND SEX – A MINISTER SPEAKS


Marjorie Lazaro

I interviewed violinist, singer and teacher Marjorie Lazaro about her experiences of post-war Britain. After writing an opera libretto, short stories and pieces for music, artwork and voice, Marjorie has recently published her debut novel, A Person of Significance, set in the 1950s.

Leslie: Your novel A Person of Significance begins with Garrad, newly-arrived from Rangoon, encountering racism in 50s London.  Garrad soon links up with young people who are different. What led you to write this particular book, rather than any other? What are the different social patterns it explores? How did you research it? Continue reading THE SIGNIFICANCE OF 50s BRITAIN: A STORY FOR TODAY


Karen Jane Cannon

In this guest blog Karen Jane Cannon writes about recovering the voices of ‘invisible’ women from the past. Karen’s novel Powder Monkey was published by Orion in 2002. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and has written for radio and stage. Her poems have appeared in a variety of print and online journals including Orbis, Acumen, Obsessed with Pipework, The Interpreter’s House, Ink, Sweat & Tears and Popshot. Karen was commended for the Flambard Poetry Prize 2014. Continue reading SILENT VOICES


Linda Anderson in The Kitchen

Talking to Linda Anderson at her bakery and coffee shop, The Kitchen, I was struck by her friendly, open nature and her skill in creating customised homemade cakes. Based in Croxley Green, between Watford and Rickmansworth, Linda’s shop is a popular place for community groups and customers wanting coffee plus high-quality cakes for all occasions. I asked her about the secret of her success.

Leslie: Please tell us about The Kitchen and the creative work that went into establishing and running the business.

Linda: After I was made redundant from Christian Aid I volunteered as a London Ambassador during the 2012 Games, whilst applying for new posts. Alongside this I found myself baking and increasingly friends and family asked me to bake cakes for them. Initially cupcakes but then birthday and other large celebration cakes. Continue reading LINDA’S SOUL KITCHEN

Author and Poet