Thursday, 10 October 2013

Finding myself published

It's been a strange and wonderful journey, from almost too afraid to expose my first attempts to a tutor on a course, all the way to publication. Today I got flowers from Del Rey UK, although I think I should have sent them some, so beautiful is the cover and all the work they have put in to make it stand out. The others are from Russell, who has been amazingly supportive. My friend Downith hosted a blog interview on her blog and the book went up on our very own Del Rey website blog. I've blogged for Mslexia today about my journey from 6 year old writer to the present day. And I received a card of congratulations from Charlotte, my agent, who is so encouraging and supportive she has filled me with renewed enthusiasm for writing. I've eaten too many chocolates, gone out for lunch, and have a bottle of something with bubbles cooling in the fridge (and I normally only drink at Christmas!). It's been a very long day already.

I find myself humbled by the process, the very good fortune I have had to get published. I know there are many writers just as good, with just as good stories, who's timing hasn't been so lucky. I shall continue to bang on about these writers because, while I may be a debut writer, I am a pretty experienced reader. I would like to see these people's books out there.

I have also had my very first Amazon review. It was a good one, and whatever reviews come my way, that will be the one that cheers me up this evening and gives me hope that at least a healthy percentage of readers will like the book. Whoever Alisha Bookseller is, she has put frosting on an already very good day.

Monday, 7 October 2013

The excitement of a new book

I've started my ghost story - or rather, I've started the complete rewrite of the ghost story I wrote three years ago. It's creepy fun, my only dilemma is the main character (ghost's) name - Charlotte. That's my agent's name, so it seems odd to keep using it but honestly? It was her name first and I'm struggling to change it. Maybe I'll be able to further down the line but for the record, Charlotte the ghost is completely unlike Charlotte the agent, who is lovely.

I've also found that it's entwined with another story, the family history of the main characters from their home in the Caribbean and their reluctant return to England. I love the idea of one of those rich families in colonial times gradually losing all their money and more importantly, status, over time. I'm also interested in the experience of people of mixed ethnicity and class in the 1940s, so will be looking at some research about that. I may just have to go to the Caribbean for research purposes. Sigh.

The book comes out on Thursday, and I've sent off 24 copies for review and publicity. It has to sink or swim all by itself now, I'll see what happens. I do like the physical presence of the book, it's a small hardback with a touchy, feely embossed cover, it feels a bit different when you hold it. That seems in tune with its fantasy theme. I'm looking forward to celebrating with friends on the Island this month, and then with Devon friends in November. Great excuse for a party, really. In between, I will be at World Fantasy Con in Brighton for a couple of days, please come and say Hi if you're there, I'll probably be skulking around the Del Rey UK area, hiding behind my book.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Lots of news

Lots of things have happened in the last two weeks. Kids have been taken to university, one daughter has got dream job and now speaks in frequencies only bats can hear, and I have met loads of new writers. Well, not new but new to me... I started teaching locally a few months ago, doing a couple of short story workshops for the library in relation to a competition, then a couple more in two libraries - and it keeps my writing practice pushing forward. People have problems with adjectives - it reminds me to work on my overuse of them. People have slow starts to stories - looking at mine yielded some extremely boring first lines. People have problems calling themselves writers - well, we've all been there.

I've also found out my paperback is coming out on the 13th of March next year and looks like this. Pretty colours and they kept the crows flying. There's a big inferno in chapter 59...

Apart from that it's also been a worrying few weeks about health issues (family, not mine) and now one of the cats has swallowed a load of string. We're feeding it and hope it will pass said string (I'm not looking forward to counting up the pieces from the litter box) otherwise it's a vet visit.

The book actually coming out seems far, far away - but is only on the tenth. I think it will all seem real when we get together with friends on the Island to celebrate on the 22nd.

Meanwhile I have contacted my agent and she suggests writing another book for her to sell. I was working on a thriller but have gone back to a book I started years ago and love. It's the story of two sisters, one of whom dies, and the other carries her around in her head. It's a ghost story but in my imagination ghosts aren't all bad. It's also about genealogy as three women come together because they share a common ancestor, the kind of man who creates lost souls trapped in the house he built. I'm having fun with it, and book three is still getting added to and tweaked.