Sunday, 26 July 2009

Glory Days

Now that The Concubine's Secret/The Girl From Junchow is safely fledged and out of the nest, I am able to focus once more on the new book I am writing.

It is the prequel to The Russian Concubine - telling the story of the struggles of Valentina's young life during the glory days of tsarist Russia. The story of how she meets and falls in love with Jens Friis, a red-headed and red-blooded Dane, against the fierce opposition of her parents. At the same time the rumblings of the Revolution are growing louder in St Petersburg, as Tsar Nicholas II, the Imperial Duma and the Social Revolutionaries are at each other's throats.

So as you can see, it's still Russia I am addicted to. I'm having fun writing about a period of extravagant glamour and opulence as a change from the bleak austerity and grey harshness of the Stalinist regime. The tsar's court was an extraordinary hot-bed of intrigues, plots and rampant dissolution that made its UK cousin's court look positively monastic in comparison.

But the book is not going smoothly. I chivy myself with reminders: 'What book ever does?' and 'You've been here before!' Bitter crumbs of comfort. But it doesn't make it any easier. There is always a stage in a book when I get depressed, and right now, this is it. Little worms of doubt burrowing into my brain.

Do readers really think a book just flows out as smooth and creamy as milk from a cow? Don't they realise it's like slitting open your veins and watching your life-blood drip on to each page?

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just finisheed the Girl form Junchow and loved it as much as the first. I can't wait for your next!

Kate Furnivall said...

Hi Anonymous 27July,
Great to hear you got into the story of Lydia again. It was a big step doing a sequel when the first was such a success and so many people had pre-set ideas of where they wanted her to go. But I loved travelling her road with her.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely loved The Concubine's Secret. It's even better than The Russian Concubine which I thought was tremendous. Many thanks for writing such amazing books - I do hope you continue the story of Lydia and Chang because it has totally captured me.

Natalie said...

Отлично! I really look forward to reading the prequel.

Kate Furnivall said...

Hi Anonymous 29 July,
The aim of any author is constantly to improve from book to book. It is cool to hear you can see this progression. Thanks.

Kate Furnivall said...

Hi Natalie,
I loved the Russian. Excellent indeed! By the way, I'm with you on 'Jane Eyre' - my favourite book of all time.

Golden Girl said...

I have finished The Russian Concubine just minutes ago, and I can't wait to read The Girl from Junchow! Loved the characters and the story! :-D

Kate Furnivall said...

Hi Golden Girl,
Thanks for your comments. Hope the journey with Lydia continues. In The Girl From Junchow she matures in ways I didn't expect and gave me a few surprises. Enjoy it.

Golden Girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Golden Girl said...

So, now I've finished The girl from Junchow (somehow only the American version is in stores in Norway). And I hope and beg for a sequel to hear how Lydia and Chang end up happily together in Hong Kong for the rest of their lives. I think any other ending would break my heart. But I know you are busy with writing the prequel first, so no pressure!

;-)

Thanks for the great books!

Kate Furnivall said...

Comment Deleted 8 August
Hey, sorry about that - I accidentally deleted your post. Don't know quite how I did that but if you want to post it again, I shall reply more successfully this time!!

Kate Furnivall said...

Hi again Golden Girl,
Great to hear you enjoyed TGFJ. I have a feeling it won't be long before Lydia barges her way back into my life!
Happy reading.

Veronique said...

Hi!
Um, I left a comment after reading first The Russian concubine, and then another after reading Under a blood red sky (which I'm re-reading atm actually), so I thought I'd leave another comment now that I've read The concubine's secret. For my summer holiday I went to France for a couple of weeks and really needed some good books to get through it; luckily I was in a waterstones the day before leaving, and I saw The concubines secret sitting there on the shelf. At which point i squealed excitedly, grabbed it and clutched it to my chest. I also bought a Phillipa Gregory and Sebastian Faulks book, but I have to say, yours was the only one I read more than once. I really loved the novel, reading about Russia was really interesting, and the imagery created was bold and stood out in my mind for a long time. I love Valentina as a character, so when I read your blog about a prequel, I squealed again; I'm really looking forward to it!

Kate Furnivall said...

Hi Veronique,
Delighted to hear from you again. I am always very aware that readers like yourself, who have reacted so positively to my first books, have high expectations and I am pleased to hear that The Concubine's Secret has lived up to them. It's important to me not to let my readers down. At the moment Valentina is leading me up all sorts of unexpected alleys! Thanks for the comments - and the squeals.

Jackie said...

Hi Kate,

I just finished the Concubine's Secret. I never thought it would be possible, but I enjoyed it more than the first one. I sincerely hope that you are considering writing a third novel. I haven't nearly had enough of Lydia and Chang. So tell me, will you spoil us with a third?

Kate Furnivall said...

Hi Jackie,
I'm delighted to hear you enjoyed the sequel even more than the original, as it means the books are progressing with the kind of intensity I am trying to instil into them. I love writing about Lydia and though I am just finishing the story of her mother (The Jewel of St Petersburg to be published 2010) Lydia and Chang are still buzzing around in my head and so I am sure another story about their lives will emerge one day soon. My problem is that I have too many ideas and not enough time!