Mother’s Day: Advice from our authors!

To celebrate Mother’s Day, we asked some of our authors to share the best advice they (or their characters!) have ever received from their own mums. After all, mum knows best!

Check out these fabulous anecdotes below:


LIZ FENWICK, author of The Path to the Sea

My mother had four brothers and her understanding of the male mind was far greater than mine will ever be. There is one piece of her wisdom I had thought was not right but has proved true: she told me to be direct. Don’t say you don’t want something like flowers for Valentine’s, when you do. You won’t get flowers. If you have had your hair done, don’t expect that he will notice. He may say you look nice or different, but he won’t be able to pinpoint why. If you want him to notice ask directly, ‘Do you like my new haircut?’.

My mother learned my other favourite piece of advice from watching her own mother. Her father was helping peel potatoes. He was taking too much potato with the skin and her mother sent him away because of the waste. He never offered to help again and she was stuck doing all the work herself. My mother’s message to me was never criticize the help you receive, encourage it … even if two days later you have to whip out the hoover when he isn’t home to reach the places he’d missed.

PHILIPPA EAST, author of Little White Lies

The best advice my mum gave me was: don’t conform. My mum has never been afraid to speak up, step forward or swim against the tide. Sometimes that was embarrassing growing up! But I believe so much of the confidence and independence I have is down to the inspiring example she set.

REBECCA RAISIN, author of Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop

My mum always told me to finish what I start! When something shiny and new comes along it’s easy to be distracted and move on but when you always finish what you start, you soon learn there’s a lot more satisfaction in pushing through those hard times to be rewarded with a finished project/study/book/life goal! I think it’s great advice!

KATHLEEN MCGURL, author of The Secret of the Chateau

‘Don’t lose touch with your old school friends,’ Mum always advised me. It was difficult when we all had young children and had moved to different parts of the country, but Mum insisted we’d be able to pick up the friendships later on when the kids had grown up. ‘Don’t lose them. Those are the people who know you best,’ she said. She was right, and now I see my school and university friends regularly. In The Secret of the Château my characters must have had the same advice – a group of old friends decide to buy a French château jointly, in their retirement years!

DARREN O’SULLIVAN, author of Dark Corners

The best piece of advice my mum ever gave me wasn’t actually said in words. When I was young, things were tough; I grew up in a not-so-desirable place, was in a spot of trouble and, instead of accepting that, my mum packed our things and we, as a family, left. I didn’t appreciate it then – the move was hard on us all – but as an adult, I know that she taught me to never accept what isn’t right, and make the change that’s needed, however hard that may be. What a mum!

LIZ MISTRY, author of Last Request 

“The best advice my mum gave me was: always be yourself, Charlie. Be bold, be brave, be ferocious. Always reach for the stars, but keep your feet on the ground. My mum’s a kick-ass detective with three kids and, though I don’t tell her often enough, she’s my inspiration.” Charlie Parekh, Last Request

CJ SKUSE, author of The Alibi Girl

My mum was always giving me small pieces of advice meant to horrify and scare me into doing things the right way: don’t swallow chewing gum or else it’ll stick to your heart and you’ll die; don’t go out with wet hair or else you’ll get a cold and die; always brush your teeth before bed or else the ‘Night Nadgers’ will come and steal all your teeth, and I’m guessing without my teeth, I wouldn’t then be able to eat anything and then I would die. Basically lots of things to enable the prolongation of my life, and it all worked because I’m still here. Ironically, she isn’t, but her voice is still in my head reminding me of all these things every single day.

JESSICA RYN, author of The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside

Ever since I was old enough to read, my mum told me to ‘always have a good book on the go.’

It was my mum who instilled in me a love of stories and I will be forever grateful for that. Books have got me through the storms of life ever since.

DIANA FINLEY, author of Beyond the Storm

When I was a little girl, my parents sometimes gave big parties. I was expected to wear a pretty dress and ‘circulate’ with plates of snacks etc. Once when about 7, I hid in the garden. When Mum found me and asked why I wasn’t at the party, I said I was too shy. She said “Just pretend you’re not shy, no-one will ever know” – and I did. I’ve been doing it ever since, and can happily give book talks, readings etc. thanks to Mum’s advice!

RACHEL DOVE, author of The Second Chance Hotel

My mother always says to me, “Don’t tell lies, always take the time to tell someone you love them, and laugh, because life is just not good without humour”. She was my champion as a kid, and still is. 


What’s the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever received from your mum? Let us know on our social channels using the hashtag #mumknowsbest!

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