Category Archives: News

The bathing suit competition

There has been a great deal of light-hearted debate on my Fiona Veitch Smith – author FB page. In book 3, Poppy and Delilah are on a cruise, travelling to New York, on the RMS Olympic. They are about to try out the on-board swimming pool and need to choose outfits. As fans of the series know, I like to dress my characters (whenever possible) in original 1920s outfits that I source from fashion museums, books and archives. So I gave people the choice between eight outfits, as seen in this original photograph, and asked them to choose an outfit for both the girls. See which ones you would put them in then scroll down to see the results! If you agree or disagree I would love to hear from you in the comments below :)

bathing suit parade

And now for the results: These are the top three popular choices for each of our leading ladies in descending order:

Poppy: 6, 1, 2
Delilah: 7, 2, 6

So that’s decided! Poppy will be in horizontal stripes and Delilah the floral pattern. For colours I’m going with dark green and gold for Delilah (gold flowers) and nautical blue and white stripes for Poppy. I’ll make Poppy’s slightly longer though.
Now you’ll have to wait until 2017 to see your choice in print!!!!!

How ‘Christian’ is the Poppy Denby series?

I have just received the most lovely review from an American reader who also happens to be a Christian. Now, although my publisher Lion Fiction is part of a Christian publishing company (and their American distributor, Kregel, is a Christian company too), Lion’s aim, and mine, is not to write ‘Christian fiction’. It is to write great fiction, compatible with a Christian worldview, that can be enjoyed by anyone. So I never describe what I write as Christian fiction and am grateful that in most bookshops The Jazz Files is listed simply under historical mystery and crime.

For me, faith – or the lack of it – is part of the fabric of life. So it is inevitable that faith will seep into my writing. That would happen whether I was writing for a Christian publisher or not. My novel The Peace Garden (published by Crafty Publishing) is not a ‘Christian book’ in any way, but some of the characters are Christian (and some Jewish and some Muslim). And of course themes of redemption, forgiveness and reconciliation run through the book. The same is true of the Poppy Denby Investigates series. It has been read and reviewed by people of faith and no faith – and that’s just the way I want it to be. It is also stocked in general bookshops such as Waterstones here in the UK. So if people of no faith – or a different faith – get back to me and say they think I am trying to Bible bash them, I would think I had failed as a novelist. And, I suppose, general bookshops might stop stocking it and that would prevent a whole lot of readers – who would never buy a book from a so-called ‘Christian’ bookshop – having access to it.

I am not a Christian novelist (although I am a novelist who happens to be a Christian). I am first and foremost a storyteller. I simply want to write about real people with messy lives. In Poppy’s case that means struggling with the faith she has been brought up with as she tries to find her own way in the world. That includes thinking about what she believes in God, for herself, not just what her upbringing has taught her. A few – and fortunately only a very few – Christians have been offended that I have put my character in the midst of ‘sinners’ and felt she was not ‘Christian’ enough. Well perhaps the Poppy Denby Investigates series is not their cup of tea. But how heartening it is to receive reviews from Christian readers who really seem to get it. One of those reviewers was Beth Milinski on her wonderful blog, For the Love of Books. She said:

“I enjoyed all of the characters in this book but I absolutely LOVED Poppy Denby. She is a great character with a natural curiosity and instinct to find out the truth. She struggles with what is right and wrong, making choices to honor her beliefs. Poppy loves her Aunt Dot and is motivated by Dot’s confidence in her. All of the characters in this book are real, their lives are messy, trouble happens, people get hurt, good people do bad things to try to help, and good can triumph over evil.”

Thank you Beth. It’s good to be reminded that we are all people with messy lives. And yet, we are still loved.

It’s fun but it ‘aint fluffy!

Delighted that The Jazz Files is a featured book of the month at Love Reading UK with a crop of flapulous reviews. I think my favourite is ”Feared this would be a ‘fluffy’ lightweight but found it remarkably engaging most notably for capturing many of the social changes of the 1920s’. Fluffy, moi????

And if you buy through the Love Reading website you get 20% off the cover price! Now that’s a New Year’s bargain.

Poppy Denby Investigates

Here are some pics from a film shoot we did for a book trailer for The Jazz Files American launch. I’ll show you the finished film when it’s ready, but for now enjoy these stills of actress Amber Irish playing Poppy Denby as she arrives in London and starts investigating.

Poppy Denby arrives in London to start work as a journalist at The Daily Globe.
Poppy Denby arrives in London to start work as a journalist at The Daily Globe.
When a senior journalist is killed she is tasked with finishing the story he was working on when he died. Poppy Denby Investigates.
When a senior journalist is killed she is tasked with finishing the story he was working on when he died. Poppy Denby Investigates.

Pics from the launch

Everyone had a flapulous time at the launch party at Waterstones, Newcastle on the 25 September. Here is a taste of it. You might want to view the pics to the accompaniment of the Tiger Rag by the Original Dixieland Jazzband. At the launch it was played by Yussef Nimer and Jimmy Madrell from Middlesbrough, not Dixie :)

Yussef (left), Jimmy and yours truly.
Yussef (left), Jimmy and yours truly.
My commissioning editor, Jess Tinker from Lion Fiction who came all the way from Oxford.
My commissioning editor, Jess Tinker from Lion Fiction who came all the way from Oxford.
Me reading a chapter from The Jazz Files with my daughter in the background.
Me reading a chapter from The Jazz Files with my daughter in the background.

Happy Birthday Poppy Denby!

JC_HappyBirthdayFlapper-viToday is the day we have all been waiting for: it’s Poppy Denby’s literary birthday! As from today, The Jazz Files will be available in and through bookshops – online and on the high street. If you have not pre-ordered your book already, friends in the UK can get their book today through:

The Hive – an online outlet for independent bookstores (with free delivery on all orders)

Waterstones – even if it says it’s ‘coming soon’, that’s a website error: it is in stock!

In Australia you can order through Booktopia

In New Zealand from Fishpond

In South Africa you can pre-order the paperback from or get the e-book today from (at least I hope you can. If not, you will have to wait until it becomes available in the USA – see below).

In USA – I’m so sorry my darlings, but it is only being released in the USA on 28 November! However, if you really can’t wait – and who would blame you if you couldn’t? – you can order from the UK Amazon site and have it shipped over. It’ll get there long before the 28 November!

I do hope you enjoy getting to know Poppy and her world. Please come back and tell me if you do.

Happy Birthday Poppy!


Fiona gets into character

Fiona had a flapulous time (to quote a friend) at a publicity shoot. With only three weeks to go until publication, she thought she’d get into costume and into character. She made the dress (from an original 1920s pattern designed by a Mrs Depew) and borrowed the car, a beautiful 1928 Ford Pheaton owned by the very generous Alan and Christine Simpson of Crawcrook.