Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Come On Over ....

Well, it's here at last. My farewell post to this blog. But the good news is that I am moving to my new blog on my new-look website - still katefurnivall.com - which goes live on Thursday 16 February. So I do hope you'll join me there.

I want to thank all of you for hanging out with me here. I've enjoyed all your comments and your support has meant a lot to me. It's good to know you're out there!

My new book THE WHITE PEARL is published on 16 Feb 2012, so head on over to my new website on Thursday to read more about it. There will be loads of extra info and interviews, as well as a fun competition to win a copy of the book.

In addition, a whole new world will be opening up to me with my new Facebook Fanpage which also gets going on 16 Feb - so check it out.

Looking forward to seeing you there. Happy reading!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

February 16

Less than three weeks to go. A date for your diaries! February 16 - publication day of THE WHITE PEARL in the UK by Little Brown. I am impatient now to see that gorgeous cover casting its green shadow over the bookshelves.

The last couple of weeks I have been busy doing PR for magazines, websites, book forums etc - one of the joys of being an author in the digital age - and I am always interested to see what questions they come up with. Of course there are the usual stock-in-trade ones such as: 'What inspired you?', 'Why Malaya?', 'What research did you do?' and 'What's your favourite book/author?' These I answer with grace and honesty and even try to insert a degree of variation here and there, to entertain myself as well as my reader.

But every now and again, a curve-ball comes winging out of the blue and smacks me right on the head. It was an Australian magazine that tossed out this question: 'What is the worst criticism you have received as an author?'

A real sneaky one. My secret lies hidden away in the darkest recess of a drawer, cowering from prying eyes. It's a newspaper cutting from The Times, UK. But today, prompted by that pushy Australian, I will dust it off for you, hide my blushes and reveal all. It is a review written about my first book, THE RUSSIAN CONCUBINE.

"If books were food," sniped the reviewer, "this would be a Mars bar."

Well, we all know that a Mars bar is not proper food and that if you devour too much of it, it will make you sick. Needless to say, I was mortified.

But as the book went on to hit the New York Times Bestseller list and to sell into 20 languages across the globe, I reckon the world must be mighty fond of Mars bars. I wait with narrowed eyes to read what that reviewer has in her arsenal for THE WHITE PEARL.

In the meantime, get ready for my new-look all-singing website which is cooking up nicely in preparation for Publication Day on 16 February. It might even tell you who my favourite author is!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year

Happy New Year. Come on, let's make 2012 a good one, despite all the doom and gloom spilling like black treacle out of the media.

Here are my 10 New Year resolutions for 2012: I, Kate Furnivall, resolve to:-

1. Endeavour (yet again) to eat less chocolate, to take myself off to the gym with greater alacrity and to clip my cat's claws more often before she turns my stair-carpet into shagpile.

2. Regard my computer as my friend, rather than my taskmaster.

3. Get scenes down on paper immediately, instead of concocting them in great detail in my head and then finding that they have drifted away while I trotted off in search of that essential cup of coffee or just made a quick phonecall.

4. Make lists. And lists of lists, if necessary. That way my desk might stay tidy.

5. View each difficulty that trundles across my path as a challenge that will stretch me, make me stronger and give me a chance to open new doors.

6. Meet my publisher's deadline.

7. Meet my publisher's deadline.

8. Meet my publisher's blasted deadline.

9. Lunch less. Quaffing merlot with author-pals does not count as research.

10. Writing is huge fun. Remember to enjoy it.


ps. Nothing I do will persuade this blog font to match previous entries, sorry about that. I have wrestled it to the ground and still lost. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that preparations are in place for my new all-singing website and this one is sulking!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Festive Frivolity

It's that time of year again - when everything is rushing like crazy and there is so much to do and so little time. I find myself juggling chestnuts and Christmas trees and emails, mince-pies and plotlines, while still trying to get that vital scene down on paper, as well as a belated letter to Aunty Betty in Australia.

But today will be my last day of work, (I can feel my brain muscles dancing with glee!), so tomorrow I can launch myself with a clear conscience into final wrapping and cooking preparations for the arrival of two sons, two daughters-in-law and four cats.

By the way, in the new year Little Brown is setting up an exciting new website for me - the same domain: katefurnivall.com, but there will be changes to the blog. So be prepared. I will let you know more early in January 2012, and post more info on my new book, THE WHITE PEARL, which will be published in UK on 16 Feb and in US on 6 March. .

But right now I want to take a few quiet moments to thank you for your support throughout 2011 and for the comments on my blog which I always read with relish. I wish you all a happy festive season and the very best for the new year. Have fun!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Export Publication of THE WHITE PEARL

Today is special. The export edition of The White Pearl is published in countries worldwide, so I shall soon hear initial reactions and reviews. Always a nervy time. But I was thrilled to hear that in Australia they are doing an interesting offer:- Buy a copy of The White Pearl from any Whitcoulls store and enter a draw to win a Pearl Set from Pascoes Jewellers. Now that's what I call a promotion worth having!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Inspiration in the Desert

I'm just back from a research trip to Egypt. It was an amazing experience. However many times I had studied pictures of it in books or on TV, nothing prepared me for the impact of stepping into my first ancient Egyptian tomb of a Pharaoh.

It is utterly breathtaking. The artistry, the exquisite beauty of the carvings, the mystery and the sense of timelessness are overwhelming.

Because of the political turmoil in the country at the moment, there are barely any tourists there, so I was privileged to see the great sights of Egypt without jostling crowds or impatient queues in the hot sun. Hatshepsut's temple, Tutankhamun's tomb, Saqqara and Karnak, the glorious antiquities inside the Cairo and Luxor museums, all lie quietly undisturbed by chatter or clicking cameras.

But what turned out to be good fortune for me is of course causing Egypt's economic downfall, as they badly need tourists to return with their dollars and euros. The Egyptian people are warm and welcoming, and I experienced no difficulties of any kind, despite being in Cairo during the protests in Tahrir Square. And I ended the trip with a real highlight - a hot-air balloon flight at dawn over the desert and its treasures. Now I can write my new book with the amazing inspiration and energy I drew from those ancient tombs.

Thursday, 20 October 2011


The summer months flew by in a blur of broken knee, followed by trips to Italy (stunning scenery) and Germany (wonderful wedding), but now I am deep into research for another book - which I am loving. An inside peek for you - it will be set in Egypt.

But that's for the future. The big news at the moment is that my next book, THE WHITE PEARL, will be published in December in large format, and in usual paperback size in February 2012 in the UK and in March 2012 in the US. I am thrilled with the cover which says it all - the sweltering heat of Malaya, a young woman caught up in the danger of enemy airplanes and the passion of a love affair that changes the course of her life forever.

To explore Malaya (yes, I know it's Malaysia now but in 1941 when the book is set, it was called Malaya) was an exciting change after my last three books in Russia. I loved the challenge of learning to understand somewhere completely new to me, a different culture, a different world. I chose Malaya and I chose 1941 because it was a time when this astonishingly beautiful country was poised on the brink of catastrophe and when internal conflicts were preparing to tear the country apart as it tried to throw off the heavy yoke of colonialism.

So what's the story about?

Connie Hadley is my heroine. Warm and passionate but flawed. As the glamorous wife of a plantation owner, her life appears pampered and comfortable. But she is hiding a devastating secret that could destroy her marriage. Her world is blown apart on the day of the infamous attack on Pearl Harbour, when the Japanese army also invades Malaya. Connie takes the decision to flee on the family's yacht, The White Pearl, so she sails with her husband and son and a handful of friends in search of safety. But on the yacht, in constant danger, fear strips away good manners and anger causes divisions until .....

Enough, enough! I won't tell more. Don't want to let spoilers slip out.

This is always a difficult time for an author. The new book hangs in limbo, the writing finished, copyediting done, cover and blurb decided on by the publisher - just waiting for launch day. It's a nervy time. Early pre-publication copies have gone out to reviewers. Which magazines and newspapers will pick it up for review or even an article? And my head is still half in Malaya with Connie, but at the same time I am rummaging around with Howard Carter in Tutankhamun's tomb for the next book.

I try to be patient but I am itching to see THE WHITE PEARL on the bookshelves. Not long now.