Yay – I Get To Be A Year Older! And Other Thoughts on Turning Forty

Birthday candles

No, that header is not sarcastic. Those of a cynical disposition who would prefer not read a soppy post, please look away now…

I turn forty this month and I’m absolutely thrilled about it.

For various personal reasons, I have always been aware of how lucky I am to be alive. I mean, we’re all lucky to be alive, but I very nearly didn’t make it out of babyhood (having been born with a literal broken heart, I was saved by a wonderful NHS cardiology department) and, without wishing to be too vomit-inducing, I’m so happy and grateful for my life and that I still get to be living it.

Rather than worrying about ageing (let’s face it, there can be few less-productive things to fret over), I’m truly celebrating. I get to be forty: I’m so blinking lucky!

I adored my thirties and so many amazing things have happened to me in the last decade – both personally and professionally – that it is only natural to feel a little sad at waving it goodbye. However, I have every intention of making my forties just as enjoyable and fulfilling. More time with family and friends, more writing, more travel and fun and nice food and reading good books!

Perhaps I have an unfair advantage; I was the child who couldn’t wait to grow up, the teenager who always wanted to be older, the woman in her twenties who ran joyfully into the arms of marriage, mortgage and motherhood. I have, frankly. always been middle-aged (reading, radio four, comfortable shoes, saying ‘gosh’) so it’s quite nice to be at the ‘right’ stage for my natural inclinations.

Hooray!

 

 

 

The Language of Spells Audio Book

It’s out! My very first (published) novel is now available as an audio book and I’m thrilled.

If you don’t already have an Audible subscription, you can sign up for a FREE one month trial and get The Language of Spells completely gratis!

It’s also available from iTunes and Amazon.

I also have a limited number of review copies available. If you are interested in one of those, send me an email.

In other news, I am very close to finishing my current WIP. I got very stuck with this story earlier in the year and couldn’t work out how it ended, which was, frankly, terrifying.

However, I have been working through the edits from my agent and I had a breakthrough. I now have an ending (pro tip – books need endings!) and lots of ideas for improving the rest of the book. Thank goodness! I was seriously worried for a while there…

 

 

 

 

 

In The Light of What We See Publication Day! Meep!

ITLOWWS_champagne

Hello my lovelies!

*Standby for excessive exclamation marks and random CAPITAL LETTERS*

It’s PUBLICATION DAY! MEEP!

I am thrilled to share this book with you all and I really hope that you like it.

It’s a story I have wanted to write for a long time, and Mina’s voice came to me very clearly back in 2010, when I was doing my masters in creative writing at St Andrews university. Now, a mere (!) six years later it’s a proper shiny book and on the shelves.

Yay! I am celebrating with a meal out later on (and the champagne in the picture).

Thank you so much for reading and for all your support. I truly believe in this book and, of course, am super-nervous about its reception/whether it will do ‘well enough’.

It definitely helps that I woke up to find over forty five star reviews on Amazon, and the book sitting in the top hundred on the bestseller chart – phew!

In The Light of What We Seeavailable now in audiobook, ebook and paperback.

Word of mouth is still the biggest factor in a book’s success, so if you could tell a friend, send a Tweet or leave a review, I’d be over the moon.

THANK YOU!

I Have A Book Title! Meep!

Lazy morning, Zelda-style
Zelda is successfully hiding her excitement at my new title…

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).

Head here to grab your copy.

It features a lovely photograph of Iris’s journal, created by my amazing in-house production team (AKA My Mum and Dad – thank you!).

Also, if you’re interested in writing, but need some help in getting started, check out my latest article on The Worried Writer: How To Build a Writing Habit The Easy Way

 

*Listeners of my podcast, The Worried Writer, may be confused. You might be thinking ‘but Sarah told us the title in the last episode’. Apologies! It changed. I hope you like the new one!

 

 

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]

Wrestling with the WIP, the passage of time, and leaving the house

A sneak preview of my fall fashion collection
A sneak preview of my fall fashion collection

Hello, my lovelies – how are you all?

I promised myself that I would update the blog today, but I’m feeling pretty scattered and dragging my thoughts into a cohesive post feels impossible. Have some brain vomit, instead! (Apologies.)

As the title explains, I am struggling with draft two of the WIP. It’s the stage at which I wish – fervently – that I planned my books, and that my first drafts weren’t craptastic brain-dumps.

However, I do know (from past experience) that the only way to feel better (about this book or anything at all in my life) is to write, write, write. Just keep going. On and through.

I’m also feeling distracted and emotional, as my youngest is coming to the end of his primary school years. He’s visiting the local high school today and, after the summer, will be there All The Time. No more lovely primary with its polo shirts and school fetes and playing tig at lunchtime. No more school runs (well, walks) during which he sets me maths problems I can’t answer, and we discuss our mutual love for The Avengers and Groot.

This, naturally enough, leads to depressing thoughts about the passage of time. My children are growing up so quickly and, no matter how intently I insist that they desist, the moments keep slipping past.

More practically speaking, there’s the danger that I will go entirely feral without the civilising need to leave the house twice a day. My children will come home at four o’clock to find me in my ratty old dressing gown muttering and twitching over a typewriter like Grady Tripp in The Wonder Boys.

So, there’s that to look forward to, at least…