Very excited this week. I’m off to Croatia on Friday to the Interliber Book Fair in Zagreb, as guest of my Croatian publisher, Profil.
This is new territory for me – in every sense. But it will be fascinating to learn more about this market while I’m out there, to talk with authors from other countries and to Croatian readers about what kind of books they value.
Have you noticed how each country seems to have its own special quirks when it comes to books? Just look how we’re all into the moody Scandinavian thrillers now, and the UK’s big flashy historicals that rake over the compelling intrigues of our past kings and queens.
But I wonder what books come out of Croatia …..
Vivid tales of Dalmatian pirates perhaps? Or the moving stories of families torn apart during the break-up of Yugoslavia? I can’t wait to find out. The trouble with writers (one of many!) is that we do tend to get a bit stuck into navel-gazing, so it does us the world of good to get all shaken up out of our cosy nests. We need to see what makes other places and other people tick, especially if you set your books in exotic locations, as I do.
Croatia, hmm, yes. Ottoman and Hapsburg empires at each other’s throats and hair-raising stories of thrones and betrayal. I can feel a middle-European book coming on – from this country with its wonderfully dramatic history combined with a warm and passionate people.
I’m in for a good time!
What a celebration! The whole of the UK is bursting at the seams with flags and bunting and red-white-and-blue everything – hats, cakes, costumes, roofs and … yes, even cows in fields. The Diamond Jubilee of the Queen’s coronation is proving to be a lavish excuse for sweeping us all into the party mood – which, let’s face it, we badly need.
Queen Victoria reigned over Britain for 63 years (1837-1901), so only three more years and Queen Elizabeth II will take the top spot. I bet she’s got her eye firmly on that historic Number One. Note how it’s the female of the species that has the staying power! Third in the longevity stakes comes George III with a measly 59 years on the throne.
But right now in my new book my head is all tied up with a ruler who outdoes them all – the greatest Egyptian pharaoh, Ramses II. He reigned over Egypt for a magnificent – if bloodthirsty – 67 years during the 12th century BC. His name means Son of Ra (the sun god of ancient Thebes), which is quite something to live up to. Read More…
The author George R. R. Martin put it perfectly:-
“Writing novels is like being asked to scrub St Paul’s Cathedral. With a toothbrush.”
The trouble is that my toothbrush is getting smaller and smaller! Time to find myself a great big new broom.
A warm welcome to everyone to join me at Torbay Bookshop, Torbay Road, Paignton, Devon, at 6pm on Wednesday 22 February. Come and chat, and share a glass of wine. I will be signing copies of THE WHITE PEARL and talking about how and why I wrote the book.
One of the things I love most about publication is getting out and meeting my readers. It suddenly makes the writing process feel like a two-way street and that’s really satisfying. So come on over – it will be fun.
Publication Day dawned bright and clear – a good omen. I caught an early train up to London to give me time to dash to the British Museum to check out a piece of research for my new book. I met my agent and we spent a deliciously indulgent hour cruising the Covent Garden shops, followed by a superb celebratory lunch with my publisher Sphere. Thank you, Rebecca. We toasted the new book in style.
Afterwards I did what every author does on publication day (even if they lie through their teeth and swear they don’t!). I did a quick check of bookshops to make sure The White Pearl was highly visible (it was) and then met up with my author friends at the Soho Hotel (very swish) where the hotel created an awesome White Pearl cocktail for us (white, of course, and so gorgeous I could live off it). Read More…