Peter's Latest Novel

My Lockdown Challenge

An author's diary


Who: the writer at

What: a fictional novella titled What You Don't Know About Me

When: 5th November to 2nd December - 28 days

Where: at my desk

Why: so that I have a goal for lockdown


How: Now that's the challenge

The five Ws and the H of writing more generally apply to learning, brainstorming or journalistic technique; yet they apply to writers, too. Who is your story about? What is your story about? When is your story set? Where is it set? Why is your story relevant or important and how are you going to tell it? These are, if you like, the cornerstones from which a writer raises his novel. But what if you don't have the luxury of time to plan before you build?

When it comes to construction, I've heard it said that you can erect a shelter in a day; whereas to build a house takes time. The metaphor is appropriate, for Constant Tides took me many miles and two years to complete. Writing a novel set on the shores of the Strait of Messina, Sicily, also required me to learn a great deal of local history and language, led me to draw on the knowledge and help of many close friends, historians and journalists, and introduced me to the crew of the feluca Antonio Padre. When, and only when, I had accumulated sufficient knowledge, did I feel properly equipped to approach the story.

 Some might call writing that relies solely on the wits of the writer 'freeform' and others might define the style as 'creative', though all writing is by definition creative. The challenge for me therefore is twofold: to write a novella of between 17,500 and 40,000 words in just 28 days, without either pages of reference notes or the facility of recalling first-hand experience; and to pen a brief diary of how I navigate the potholes and bumps in the road. The diary I will post here and, assuming I meet the challenge, What You Don't Know About Me will be published free on Kindle in December.


Follow the diary progress and read previous days here:





Constant Tides:

Out now in paperback, ebook & audiobook.


Two families bound by the Strait of Messina.

Constant Tides is a story of survival, sacrifice and immense courage.




Young Lilla hurries through the gardens of Villa Mazzini to meet Enzo. Together, they hope to leave the city for a new life in America. All that stands in their way – his father and the deadliest earthquake in Messina’s history.


War has already made Mira a widow and the Tenente is charming and sophisticated; without his supplies she would have had to close the café long ago. Then one night, an Italian sailor brings an injured man to her door. 


Surely, if the Englishwoman speaks the local dialect, she should know the waters off Capo Peloro are treacherous.  So when the woman is swept away, Angelica wonders if she has put herself in danger intentionally.


Reviews for Constant Tides:


This is the book that got me through lockdown. (Amazon) 


Peter Crawley has brought together in delicate detail and intricate homework an intriguing family history interwoven with real and tragic events in an iconic setting that is real and there to be seen. In true Italian style I would suggest you relax, take your time and let this story wash over you as would the tide. (Amazon)


I think this is a lovely book with real heart and I would recommend it. (LoveReading)


Crawley has a knack for getting inside the heads of his characters and his readers and bringing a place to life so that you walk with them through the scenes as the book progresses. I just wish I had been on holiday as then I would have finished it in a day probably but I might have been antisocial in doing so! (Google)


The style is fluid and assured, but not flowery and Chapter 6 of Book 2 detailing a meeting between a determined cafe owner seeking supplies and a self important sentry is a masterpiece of serio-comic writing. Thoroughly recommended. (Waterstones)


Crawley has got into the head of his characters, bringing them to life. This could not be done without a deep understanding of the human psyche. It looks as if a lot of us won't be going abroad this summer - well not a problem -just get this book and bring Italy into your home instead. A brilliant read. (Amazon)


Given the chance, I would have read Constant Tides in one sitting... just impossible to put down. I was totally absorbed from beginning to last page. (Amazon)


I have read Peter Crawley's books for some years. His writing is delightful. This book is just amazing. Read this now, you will be transported to another world. (Amazon)


My first book from this author! Captivating from the start. I will definitely be purchasing more of his work. (Amazon)


Once I started reading Constant Tides I found it difficult to put down. I was fascinated to learn about Sicily and the events in history that shaped the area while forming a binding relationship with each of the characters. I strongly recommend reading this book and believe it will appeal to a variety of readers. (Independent)


Further viewing


Videos of Peter describing the locations, events and characters that inspired Constant Tides.


Constant Tides - Part 1: Locations


Constant Tides - Part 2: Characters


Constant Tides -Part 3: Casa Cuseni


FinalCut Teaser for Constant Tides Audiobook


Books by Peter

Constant TidesThe Wind Between Two WorldsThe Truth in FictionOntrettoBoarding House ReachMazzeri



Copyright © 2020 Peter Crawley. All Rights Reserved.