Saturday, 30 May 2009

Publication Day

Great excitement. My new book, The Girl From Junchow (titled The Concubine's Secret in UK) is published this week in the US by my lovely publisher Berkley - and yes, at long last it IS the sequel to The Russian Concubine. Lydia is back!

As the sequel to an already successful book, The Girl from Junchow carries a weight of expectations on its shoulders. But I think fans will enjoy this complex story, seeing Lydia grow up and mature during the course of this book. The story portrays her attempts to seek out her father in Russia, but she is driven by much more than just the need to be reunited with him. New characters emerge in her life and old characters leave. Is one of them Chang An Lo?

Hah! You'll have to read the book to find out.

I love the cover that Berkley have created. The pastel palette is exquisite. Berkley has used the same model as on the cover of The Russian Concubine, but turned her round to face out - clothed this time! There is a delicate virginal quality to it that captures something that lies at the heart of Lydia herself - however much her wayward spirit drives her on to hunt out the challenges in her path. I'd pick this cover off a shelf myself.

Getting the cover (and title) right is a fine art. Publisher's agonise over it. A cover can make or break a book. It's the first point of contact between the writer and the reader. No time to make a second impression. A fleeting moment to seize the attention and persuade the buyer to pick it up. Then it's over to me, as they browse the first few lines. But don't fret, Lydia is there, waiting for them. I wish her luck.

Monday, 4 May 2009

London Bookfair

I sneaked a break away from my desk and enjoyed a day at the London Bookfair at Earl's Court. My first time at a Bookfair and what an eye-opener! Let me assure you these agents and publishers work like beavers. They earn their pound of flesh. The place was humming with industry.

Downstairs were the publishers' stalls, but upstairs in the Rights enclosure there were hundreds of tables set out in rows where agents met up with publishers and foreign agents and scouts from all over the world. A non-stop schedule. If any of them had a voice left by the end of the three days, I'd be surprised.

But it was fun too. My agent, Teresa, introduced me to a great bunch of foreign agents who deal with my books abroad. Lovely to put faces to names. The highlight was lunch with my wonderful American agent, Patty - a delicious Indian buffet within the hall.

From there I moved on to tea and carrot cake with my UK Sphere publisher, Joanne. She got me on a high because of the preparations for the launch of my new book The Concubine's Secret (The Girl From Junchow in the USA). Publication day is 2nd July (2nd June in USA). Not long to go.

By the end of the day I fell into the train, buzzing. Head full of plans, stomach full of food. Makes a change from banging my head on my desk all day!