Hello my lovelies! Hope you are all well, and I apologise in advance for the number of exclamation marks in the following post.
I’m very excited to announce that my new novel has a title* (courtesy of my wonderful editor at Lake Union) and a release date. Yes, it’s up for pre-order Right Now. No cover art, yet, but I have been told it’s being designed AS I TYPE THIS. (Sorry, forgot to warn you about the all-capitals-shouting, too. SORRY – TOO EXCITED.)
So, without further ado, my next book is called:
In The Light of What We See
And it will be published on 8th March 2016. Meep!
In other news, I’ve put together a little behind-the-scenes freebie for those of you who enjoyed reading about the Harper family in The Language of Spells, The Secrets of Ghosts and The Garden of Magic (or for people who just like free recipes).
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!
Keris Stainton is a talented YA author and (in the interests of full disclosure) a friend of mine. She also has two utterly bonkers boys (in the very best sense) and their hilarious conversations and one-liners make me giggle on a regular basis.
This week, she has released a follow-up volume, Calm Like a Stupid Feather, and I’m pleased to report it’s as funny, adorable, and occasionally disturbing as the first.
Now, I’m not just telling you this because Keris is a mate, or an excellent person (which she is), or because it’ll make you snort tea out of your nose with laughter (it will), but because Keris and her boys are donating all proceeds from the sale of the books to The Book Bus, a charity which promotes reading and literacy in developing countries.
I’m back! I’m out of the writing cave just in time to introduce you to playwright and fellow Carina author, Amy Bird.
Yours Is Mine is Amy’s debut. It’s a psychological thriller and is out now.
Take it away, Amy…
Who would you magically exchange identities with?
In her best-selling debut, my lovely host Sarah has brought some magic into our lives.
In my debut, just released, I’m exploring what it would mean to exchange identities with someone. No magic, just the stark reality of North London.
But what if you could use a little bit of magic to exchange identities with anyone you wanted? Actually become them? I guess for a start, you’d have to know you were them – otherwise it wouldn’t be worth doing.
If I suddenly looked like Scarlett Johansson, or had Gwyneth Paltrow’s physique, I would want to know about that and internally gloat – particularly as a magic swap would be a much more fun way than gruelling daily workouts to achieve Gwyneth’s frame.
And sure, it would be great to inhabit J.K. Rowling’s life, without having to be the one for whom Harry Potter strolled into existence. But again, I’d want to know it was me, in there.
Because that’s the thing: it can be easy to think ‘Oh, I’d change places with someone more beautiful, fit or successful than myself in an instant.’ But where would ‘you’ go? What would become of all those projects and plans, all the friendships and unique inner monologue you’d built up over the years? Your life, your self?
In Yours is Mine, my protagonist Kate gladly accepts the opportunity to exchange identities with another woman, Anna, on the basis that they will masquerade as each other for three months. Kate, recently bereaved by the death of her father and lonely following the departure of her military husband, thinks this will be a chance to get her spark back.
She relishes living in Anna’s North London flat, enjoys impersonating Anna on her on-line dating sites, and has fun taking an acting class in Anna’s name. But throughout it all, the aim is to go back to her own life at the end of it. Imagine the shock when Anna has other plans.
So for me, although I’ll happily keep eating carbs on the basis that I might suddenly find enough magic to become Gwyneth (any excuse), I think I’ll politely decline the idea of a magical life exchange for now. Or even a non-magical one. For all we really mean when we say ‘I’d give anything to be ‘so and so’’ is that we would like to be a prettier, thinner, or more successful version of ourselves. We don’t want to lose the identity that we hold dear, or the projects that make us who we are.
To be fair to Kate in Yours is Mine, she knows that – she is just hoping that agreeing to impersonate Anna for a bit will mean that when she, Kate, steps back into her own life she will return a refreshed, happier version of herself. But in making the pact with Anna, she puts all that at risk.
If Kate had a wand, or the skill of ‘Finding’ that Sarah’s characters have, maybe she’d be alright. But she doesn’t. So all she can do is fight to get back what’s hers – and hope that’s enough.