31 July, 2014

Blog Tour!

This blog will be going quiet for the next few weeks, as my blogging efforts are going on tour! To celebrate the publication of my debut novel The Art of Letting Go, several lovely people have offered to host a post of mine on their own blogs. If you support me by reading this blog, please do go and support me and them by reading the posts on their blogs too - I'll be posting links here for you to follow.

Although there will be a summary of my novel each time, the blog post itself will be different on every blog. I'll be covering topics from researching things I know nothing about, to how failure resulted in a published novel, to famous secrets. I'll update this post as I confirm dates with my hosts, and I'll point you in the right direction on the day itself - so no excuses not to read!

I started off with an extract from my novel, published on Joe and Jenny Hickson's blog on publication day. Today I am being interviewed on the blog of the author Martyn Beardsley (he of Sir Gadabout fame - although he writes much more!). Then I will also be visiting:

And I am currently confirming dates with Dan, Suzi and Tom!

29 July, 2014

Reasons (Not) To Write Novels

The Independent published this article by Javier Marias (a novelist) on seven reasons not to bother writing novels, and one reason why you might want to bother. If you are interested, then do read the whole article because his points are far more nuanced than my blunt summary, but it basically comes down to this...
  1. There are too many novels already.
  2. Writing lacks any sort of merit or mystery because pretty much everyone learns to write in some way.
  3. It won't make you rich, or even able to live off your writing.
  4. It won't make you famous, and it would be a ridiculous way to try to get famous when there are so many easier ways.
  5. Novels are forgotten almost immediately - within a few years of being written.
  6. It doesn't flatter your ego because you don't watch people enjoying your art (unlike, say, actors) and even if you happen to get good reviews, pretty much nobody else will read them.
  7. The life of a writer is not an easy one - full of insecurity, isolation and an "ambiguous relationship with reality."
And the one reason to write novels?
  1. Writing novels allows you to spend your time in the fictional world which is "the most bearable place to be".
On the whole I agree with his seven reasons, although I would also add (as he does, in a way) that none of them are particularly good reasons to want to write either! I also don't personally find the last one particularly true - I don't feel isolated or insecure, my life is happy. I don't entirely agree with his one reason to write novels either.

I agree that the novelist "can live in the realm of what might have been and never was, and therefore in the land of what is still possible, of what will always be about to happen, what has not yet been dismissed as having happened already or because everyone knows it will never happen" - but not necessarily that this is superior to the real world or the sole reason to become a novelist. However, I do love his description of this world we create in novels and the article is worth reading just for that. I also love his description of novel-writing as "the rather modest and pleasing art of inventing and telling stories". That's exactly how I would want to put it!

So what do you think the best reasons to write novels are?

25 July, 2014

Quotable Friday (35)

More sage advice and wise words from Blanche Ebbutt today and her book Don'ts for Husbands. There are 11 sections in the book - this week I offer you titbits from "General Habits" and "Personal Relations".

"Don't sit down to breakfast in your shirt-sleeves in hot weather on the ground that "only your wife" is present. She is a woman like any other woman. The courtesies you give to womankind are her due and she will appreciate them."

"Don't shelter her from every wind that blows. You will kill her soul that way, if you save her body."

[After an argument.] "Don't refuse your wife's overtures when next you meet if you have unfortunately had a bit of breeze. Remember it costs her something to make them, and if you weren't a bit of a pig, you would save her the embarrassment by making them yourself."

Then there's lots of charming advice on staying in love, having fun together and not pointing out faults. Lovely.

21 July, 2014

Publication of The Art of Letting Go

The day has come! I am delighted to announce the publication of my debut novel, The Art of Letting Go with Thistle Publishing. As I have already posted about the novel itself (click here to find out what it's about), I won't do so again. I will merely say that you can buy the book in paperback here and as an e-book here.

If you are of a suspicious or curious nature and would like to try-before-you-buy you can now read an extract from the opening to the novel on one of my favourite blogs, The Urban Cottage. Just click here.

Over the last months I have been very blessed by the encouragement and support of my friends and blog followers and many people have asked how they can help get my career off the ground, so here are a few ways to start with;
  • buy my book to read yourself or as a gift for friends!
  • if you like The Art of Letting Go please give it a good review on Amazon (and GoodReads if you have an account there)
  • if you weren't so keen, please pass it on to somebody who you think it might suit better
  • sign up to the mailing list on my website (you will receive e-mails - no more than once a month - with short updates on this novel and any future projects)
  • spread the news about The Art of Letting Go on social media
Thank-you so much for your support and I really hope you enjoy my novel.

15 July, 2014

Cover Reveal

I am excited to be able to tell you that my debut novel The Art of Letting Go is going to be published on Monday (21st July)! As part of the fun surrounding that nerve-wracking event, I am now proud to be able to reveal the cover.

Here it is:

Do you like it? The aim was to go for something simple, perhaps stark. The novel is set almost entirely on a beach but it's not a "summer read" in the usual sense, so I didn't want it to be all ice-creams and tanned legs. The original design was a great concept, but I felt it lacked a certain little detail to make it unique. I was particularly keen for a kite to feature as that is a small but significant feature of the story.

I got my husband to knock-up a quick draft based on the original just to show my agent what I meant when I gave my feedback, and David liked it so much, Paul (the husband) ended up doing the final design in the end. This was great for me as I got to see every detail of spacing and font etc. We did go for something a bit fancier and bolder in the intermediate stage but  reverted to this simple design as it reflects the feel and tone of the book more. I love the feeling of the sand stretching away - of uncertainty about what lies beyond the horizon.

I hope it has inspired you to give my novel a go. Much more on where and when you get hold of it to come in a couple of days. Until then, if you don't know what it's about yet, then please check it out!