New book deal, new hat…

Author in a top hat
See explanation below…

As you all probably know, the path to getting a book from imagination to publication is not an easy (or short) one. I’ve had the idea for this particular book knocking around in my head for years, but I didn’t feel I was ‘good enough’ to write it. Then I realised that I was never going to feel good enough, so I may as well try…

I worked on it during my MLitt a few years ago and then put it to one side. I came back to it in 2013 and finished a draft in 2014. Then I worked on revisions and rewrites with Agent Fabulous and went on submission earlier this year.

Which is when the fun really started…

There’s a lot of waiting in this game, but there is something especially torturous about the publisher-submission stage. I think it’s because you know you’re at the end of the road. The book has been accepted by your agent (or has landed you one), it’s been edited and rewritten until it feels, truly, like the best you could possibly make it, and then you’re going to get a final ‘yes’ or ‘no’ from publishers you have spent years dreaming about…

During the couple of months of nail-biting and compulsively refreshing my email inbox, I saw a lovely grey felt top hat in Edinburgh. Now, I’ve always had a soft spot for top hats. When I was a kid I used to dress up (a lot) and one of my favourite ‘creations’ was a chalk white face, dark circles drawn under my eyes and a black silk topper. True, if worrying, story.

Anyway, there was no earthly reason for me to buy a top hat. I am a 38-year-old mother of two. I no longer dress up. I live in my pyjama bottoms and occasionally scare the postie with my unkempt feral-writer look.

But my heart wanted the hat. At home, back in front of my inbox hitting ‘refresh’ like a deranged participant in a psychology experiment, I said to Lovely Husband: ‘If I get a deal for this book, can I buy a top hat?’

This is, by far, one of the less odd things I’ve said to him over the years and he didn’t bat an eyelid: ‘Of course, darling.’

Which is a very long way of explaining the picture above. I have a new book contract! My next novel is being published by Lake Union early next year in paperback, ebook and audio editions. Meeeeeeeeeep!

It’s a dual-narrative story set in a hospital in Brighton, with one strand in the present day and one in 1938. It’s part historical, part psychological thriller and the acquisitions editor at Lake Union described it as ‘The Amber Keeper meets Before I Go To Sleep‘.

This book is very close to my heart and I’m beyond thrilled that it’s found a publishing home. Thank you for reading and I look forward to tell you more about it soon!

[Image credit: My Amazing Daughter]

Holiday fun and novella news

Well, I’m FINALLY allowed to tell you all that I have a new book coming out. Yay!

It’s just a short one (a novella, in fact) and is a prequel to The Language of Spells. It’s called The Garden of Magic and I believe it’s out next month (I will let you know exact date when I am given it).

I’ve had quite a few messages from readers (thank you!) asking for more from Iris Harper (who we get to know through her journals in The Language of Spells) so when Carina asked me to write a novella, I thought it would be fun to get to know her better. I really hope you like it!

In other news, I took a week off. Yes, a whole week with no editing, no writing and precious little internet time (how did I cope?!).

Truth be told, I was feeling a little frayed around the edges before the holiday, and I feel so much better for the break. We did lots of lovely family stuff, including a hill walk in the beautiful Glen Clova, a visit to these fine silver beasts, and a roller disco. Yes, you read that right; I donned wrist guards (the caution of age) and some bad-ass black rollerboots and whizzed around a darkened hall for a happy couple of hours. It was brilliant!

The Kelpies
The Kelpies against a grey sky – it’s summer here, honest.

I hope you are having a good summer and, as always, thank you for reading!

Wait… What happened to June?

Goodness, where did that month go?!

In Scotland the schools break up at the beginning of July so it has been a whirlwind of end-of-term activities (including a school awards evening for my daughter and an emotional last-day-of-primary for my son) and a race-to-finish as much work as possible before the summer holiday.

I will, of course, still be working throughout the six weeks, but I’m planning to move at a slightly slower pace and to allow time for impromptu days out and fun activities. I’m also taking a complete break next week as my lovely husband is on holiday and I can’t wait!

I’m also looking forward to catching up on my reading. I brought this haul home from the library (and my parents’s bookshelves) the other day. Yay!

bookhaul2

In other news, Episode 5 of The Worried Writer podcast is up. It features an interview with fellow Carina author, Annie Lyons, and we talk about writing routines, dealing with criticism, pre-publication nerves and comfort blankets. Hope you like it!

ww_episode5_annielyons