Wednesday 31 October 2012

The Next Big Thing

Last week my friend, the fabulous Lesley Cookman (author of the superb Libby Sarjeant cosy crime series), tagged me in the Next Big Thing, an online chain of author and book recommendations - so today's blog post is me, answering set questions, about - yes, you guessed it - my Next Big Thing, which just happens to be my next book - AN ENORMOUSLY ENGLISH MONSOON WEDDING - which will be out in hardback and kindle in February 2013, and paperback in May 2013.

So, here goes....

What is the title of your next book?

Er - oops, sorry - just said that above - AN ENORMOUSLY ENGLISH MONSOON WEDDING.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

I wanted to write a funny, summery, weddingy book set in a country village - but with a difference. And as I've recently been closely involved with several fusion weddings, a sort of East-Meets-West marriage of different cultures seemed like a good idea.

What genre does your book fall under?

My very own branch of Romantic Comedy - Bucolic Frolics!

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
No idea... My heroes live entirely in my head and heart, and I'm not sure there's a *real person* out there that would match them - although, assuming we're talking fantasy-casting here, if Jim Parsons was available to play anyone in anything I've ever written I'd be ecstatically speechless for ever and ever. Oh, and I have to admit that my heroines all have a touch of Katherine Parkinson about them...

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My books are traditionally published by the Piatkus imprint of Little,Brown.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

About 8 weeks. I only ever write one draft and then edit as I go along. If I had to do several drafts I'd lose interest and write the life out of it. I'd tinker and faff and mess about with commas and then get bored....  

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I'm kindly linked with amazingly talented rom-com authors like Jill Mansell, Carole Matthews, Milly Johnson, Jane Lovering and Katie Fforde - I'm fantastically flattered by this!

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My daughter's fabulous fusion wedding - which I must say, went far more smoothly than Erin and Jay's in AN ENORMOUSLY ENGLISH MONSOON WEDDING - with none of the horrors. My fictional fusion wedding is entirely fictional!

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

The tagline for this book is "BOLLYWOOD COMES TO BERKSHIRE" - so I hope this is a hint that it's a bit mad, and colourful and noisy and lively... And it covers the six scorchingly hot summer weeks before Jay and Erin's wedding - a wedding they've planned carefully, a wedding they're absolutely sure will go exactly the way they want it to, without any hitches or problems or  interference from friends and family... Poor deluded souls... Oh, and it's the first book in my new series of Bucolic Frolics. It's set in the village of Nook Green - and future books will take place in the neighbouring villages of Bluebell Common, Maizey St Michael, and Daisybank. 
So - that's my Next Big Thing - and next Wednesday, November 7th, check out the blogs of my super tagged authors below, and find out what their NEXT BIG THING is going to be....

Sheila Norton/Olivia Ryan
Julie Day
Hazel Osmond
Lizzie Lamb

Sunday 22 July 2012

Sorry Blog - It's Been A Long, Long Time...

Dear Blog - I'm very sorry that I've ignored you for so long, but you know how it is... stuff happens, some things have to take priority, other things get ignored - and yes, sorry again, but you were among the latter. I can see you've gone sniffy on me because everything's changed since we were last together. The Blogger layout for a start - and now the font and the settings - and I'm not sure that I like it. Hopefully, once we get used to one another again, it'll be okay.

And I've given you a gorgeous bunch of flowers here by way of apology and to show that we're all happy again. We are, aren't we???

So, Blog, I'm going to explain briefly, why you've been left to wander alone and unloved in Blogland since that last rather hurried post in Feb. FIVE months ago! Erk...

You see, Blog, you're supposed to be a happy thing. We've shared some tough times since we've been together, yes, but mainly you've been a source of light relief, something to smile over, maybe even raise a chuckle or a little giggle. And honestly, Blog, life has been a bit well, un-smiley and un-chuckly and un-giggly for ages and it seemed unfair to inflict a whole wodge of - basically - sad crap - on your shoulders. So, I ignored you.

Anyway, life now seems to be on the up - so I'm back and I hope you'll forgive me. The new book - AN ENORMOUSLY ENGLISH MONSOON WEDDING - is finished and with the copy editor. Now, you'll know that this book has been a bit of a trial - not least because when I'd written half of it - about last September - the computer crashed and burned and - gulp - I hadn't saved any of it. Yes, I know I'm useless - no need to rub it in. The boys at PC World did a good job of scraping the residue from the hard-drive but then it all had to be transported to the new computer - and it didn't like it. It just spat at me. And I was rubbish at trying to marry it with the new Word thingy - so I gave up and started writing it again...

 Then everyone in the family was ill - I mean mostly hospital-ill - and I should have had a season ticket to that car park! Oh - they're all fine now, thanks, but half my life seemed to be spent in various wards and departments for weeks and I wrote zilch.

Then there were the deaths. Not related to the above paragraph I'm relieved to say. And no details, Blog. But three very good friends, all young, all sudden. Three funerals, three lots of consecutive heartbreak, three lots of grieving, masses and masses of tears - and no writing at all. My heart simply wasn't in it.

So, when I wasn't at hospitals or funerals, I was at the vets. Lexie, with her inoperable intestinal *lump* and Emily with her epilepsy and kidney failure, were backwards and forwards on a daily basis for weeks and weeks and each visit had me in stomach-knots and floods of tears. And I found it hard to write anything at all - let alone something cheerful. Oh, yes - against all odds, both Lexie and Emily are doing well, thanks. In fact they're both in the garden in the sun (do you remember sun?) as I'm typing this, having eaten a good breakfast and look set to carry on for a good while yet - but it's been touch and go for ages... And you know me, Blog, I can never write when the cats are ill.

So, the book was late. Very late. And I panicked - a lot. And worked off-line - again, no time to visit you, or answer emails or anything. And then, even when the book was done, I knew it wasn't great because I was unhappy - and there were rewrites - twice - which scared me because I began to wonder if this poor book, with so many fits and starts, would ever be a) finished and b) any good. I'm very happy to say, Blog, that thanks to a lot of understanding, hard work, careful suggestions and more patience than I'd have had with me, by my lovely editors and agent, AN ENORMOUSLY ENGLISH MONSOON WEDDING has finally turned into the upbeat, romping book I'd always hoped it would be.

So, all the above is really why I've been AWOL for so long. And there was other stuff too - legal stuff, too tedious to mention - but it all ate into my time. It's been one of those years...

However, and with fingers and toes tightly crossed, I'm going to say that I think things are finally getting better. I'm feeling more positive and yes, rather stupidly (?) I've just decided to write four books at the same time. Yes, I know - but I had four ideas that wouldn't leave me alone - so I'm currently writing bits of each one every day. And now the sun's shining (literally and metaphorically) and I'm smiling again. And I'm back with you.

I really, really hope you'll forgive me...

See you again soon - promise, Blog.
lots of love
Me xxxx 

Thursday 2 February 2012

Publication Day!!!!

Yes, okay - it's over 3 months since I last blogged - THREE MONTHS! That's BAD! That's very, very BAD. I will start posting more regularly - promise - and there have been good reasons for the gap... oh, and I shouldn't even be blogging now because the new book has to be finished in Feb (and it will be!) so I'm deep in deadline hell, BUT I couldn't let publication day go by without a little bit of a celebration. Due to the deadline and everything else, the celebration will be pretty muted. There won't be any balloons or champagne or fireworks or bouquets - no, sadly my launch party is just me, still in my pyjamas, sitting in the back bedroom - er - study - at the desk, writing the new book while simply being ecstatically happy that NCSG has made it out there. So, the balloons and fireworks et al will be virtual, but I'm now raising a cyber glass of fizz to Never Can Say Goodbye! Happy Publication Day!