L.A. Robbins



When he leaves his two-year-old in the Tesco shopping trolley, Robin MacFarlane knows he needs help. A middle-aged Scotsman juggles teaching and the upbringing of his children with compassion and humour after the unexpected loss of his wife.

Morag McCoul, the family’s new nanny, unpacks alternative paraphernalia from her carpet bag, delighting the children and terrifying their conventional relatives.  

Lisa Robbins :: Unspooling the light

Unspooling the Light

This engaging and highly original collection offers bright strands of meaning amidst the puzzles of contemporary life.

In these 16 stories, L.A. Robbins addresses themes of transience, identity, gender and belonging. Set in the UK, the US, Europe and the Far East, these thoughtful tales reflect insights gleaned from the author’s memorable experiences in those places.


A British and American author and editor living in Italy

L.A. Robbins

LA Robbins enjoys guitar-playing, dancing and learning Italian, alongside writing. Inspiration for Widdershins came from bringing up her family in Scotland’s tantalising Auld Reekie. Many of her short stories have been published in UK, US and European journals, including Ariel Chart, Potato Soup, Mediterranean Poetry, Scarlet Leaf Review, Aquila Magazine and SCARS.‘Ensnarement’ made the long list for the Fish Publishing Prize and was placed in Storgy Magazine. ‘Mirror, Mirage’ won the London Writer of the Year Award. An alternative medicine practitioner and a sound healer, the author now devotes a few months each year to London where she is a science fiction editor for The Literary Consultancy.

 L.A. Robbins has nearly completed two new novels and is working on a third.

Contact Lisa at larobbins8888@gmail.com

Conversation with a Novelist

VISTA magazine December 2023
Excerpts from an interview with Florence’s Lisa Robbins by Sophie Holloway
Vista magazine & Magneta Florence: Interview with Lisa Robbins

It is not always easy to recollect when we embark on a new passion.  But Lisa Robbins, British-American novelist living in Florence, Italy, recalls with absolute clarity when she first put pen to paper. I was 13 years old living in Taiwan where my family was stationed during the Vietnam War.  For her, writing was a way of “making sense of the world,” and it remains to this day one of the main reasons she continues to write. 

While her love of writing began early on, her career as a novelist started only after she had pursued two different professions, first as a banker, and later as a financial journalist. But “neither made my heart sing” she notes, which is what prompted her move to a different branch of journalism, one that opened up a whole new world. Work for Fairchild News in New York and  London offered the freedom to report on a wide range of subjects and the opportunity to interview famous people including author Dick Francis and actor Richard Burton.

Asked about how her journalist profession informed her as an author, Lisa makes an astute observation about the two professions. “The ‘Who, What, When, Where and Why’ of journalism taught me to set the scene; with fiction you first do without some of that to start with, but ultimately the journalist’s method still applies.” 

Lisa draws inspiration from across time and space. Her first book is a collection of short stories set in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the USA and UK and represents a fictionalised account of her own lived experience. Themes that emerge from her stories include identity, belonging, residence vs transience and looking in from the outside: the immutability of the “foreigner”.

Additionally, she has used fiction to explore the subject of gender. She is unafraid to “to try on a different hat.” In her novel Widdershins to be published in autumn 2024, Lisa examines grief from a male perspective – a father of three who has recently lost his wife. “It’s about trying it out, seeing what happens,” she remarks on the aerobics of writing from the opposite sex’s point of view.  Her life abroad has also pushed her to explore the difference between Western and eastern viewpoints. “It’s the job of a writer to step into the shoes of another.”  A current novel in progress is set in Hong Kong. For part of this story Lisa inhabits the persona of a Filipina servant.

Lisa is also working on two other manuscripts, one about an American couple who move to Italy to mend family struggles and another about truffle hunting Tuscany. Asked how Florence has infiltrated her writing Lisa replies that the city has taught her a lot about art and installed a deep appreciation of how much painters are able to convey without words.   Da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ is an example. “His eyes are full of pain,” she says. The principle of “showing, not telling” continues to guide her evolution as a writer. “Art does exactly this, wordlessly, of course.”

Contact Lisa at larobbins8888@gmail.com
WHAT OTHERS are saying


Published Author
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LA Robbins’ portmanteau of short stories travel the world, exploring themes of love, loneliness and identity, and make an intriguing read for anyone who’s ever tried to make a new life in a new place. The stories were beautifully written, with narrative twists and an eye for detail - a playground in Hong Kong, a New Year's Eve feast in northern Italy, a tango club for lonely hearts in London, a daughter’s unwanted lover shipping up unexpectedly in America - that always avoid the obvious and play dextrously with readers’ expectations. The range and variety is impressive. A very polished collection.
Published Authour
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L A Robbins writes in such a compelling way that it is impossible not to be drawn into her stories! For a debut novel, this is mightily impressive and it is clear that L A Robbins has a bright future ahead - definitely one to watch out for.
Dr. LH
University Lecturer
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This fascinating collection of short stories is wide-ranging in both subject matter and geographical location. From a terrifying ghostly encounter to the hilarious effects of transplant operations on a group of ageing bridge players, Robins demonstrates a mastery of different genres but focuses on the intricacies of human relationships for the majority of the tales. These exquisite stories evoke senes of love and pain, hope and despair, trauma and the triumph of the human spirt. Set in countries in which the author has lived or stayed (according to the blurb), adding colour and nuance to the narratives, we move from the UK to the USA, from Taiwan to Greece. This is a beautifully written, illuminating collection that is highly recommended.


Abracadabra! Here are some recent stories.

Expansion Bridge ➢ Scarlet Leaf Review 07/21

Alighting ➢ Children Churches and Daddies, e-version 07/21

Being Good ➢ Potato Soup 09/20

Brave Charades ➢ Children Churches and Daddies, e-version 11/20 print version 4/21

Exhibitions and Viewers ➢ Ariel Chart  10/20

Ensnarement ➢ Storgy Magazine 10/18

As Above, So Below ➢ Mediterranean Poetry 02/21 (reprinted)

As Above, So Below ➢ Literary Yard 10/20

Alligators ➢ Storgy Magazine  01/19

Seeds of Cacao ➢ The New Writer   05/03

Tea with Granny ➢ Aquila   04/09