Friday, 1 January 2010

New Year

I want to wish a Happy New Year to you all. It's got to be better than 2009, hasn't it? Here in Devon, UK, it has started with pure blue skies and a beaming blissful sun, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's a good omen for the year ahead. I heard on the radio today that it's official - we are to call it "twenty ten" rather than "two thousand and ten". Two syllables shorter. How lazy can we get?

I had a long and delightful Christmas with two weeks solid of family visitors and their three adorable cats. Charades, Pictionary and Articulate won hands down in the 'playing silly games after too much Sauvignon Blanc and Baileys' stakes, but even while performing an inspired ET charade with my finger pointed up in the air, my unfinished book haunted my mind. So now I am relieved to be back at work, hurtling towards the end with Valentina determined to make life difficult for me.

I want to say a massive thank you to my publishers, Little Brown UK and Berkley USA, for being so patient and so gentle in their enquiries as to when the book will be finished. If they're panicking, (which they undoubtedly are) they are showing no sign of it to me. I breathe easy.

Happy 2010 to you all.


Jessica Sargent said...

I want to start off by saying that I love your books. I have reread each one of them at least 3 times. My favorite has to be The Girl from Junchow. But, I have had a nagging question that I hope you can answer. In this book the section where Chang goes to Zhandu and gives a book to Si-qi, you describe how he feels when he sees her and what he is thinking while she reads.... is he really considering wanting her as a wife? Does he want her? Or is he missing Lydia?
I can't wait for your next book to come out and I truly, truly, truly hope that you write another book about Lydia and Chang.

Karen said...

Can't wait to read about Valentina's past
Happy New Year

Kate Furnivall said...

Hi Jessica,
Happy New Year to you. I'm delighted you respond so warmly to my stories and characters - it's great to know. As for Chang An Lo in the scene with Si-qi, you have to remember that he is aware of the fact that this young girl - of whom he is very fond - would make the perfect wife for him. Whereas Lydia will not. Si-qi is Chinese for a start, with all the cultural bonds that entails, which Lydia can never be a part of. Also he owes her parents a debt and knows they would like him to marry their daughter. So of course he is tempted. He loves her in a quiet way - nothing like his fierce passion for Lydia - and he is tempted, just as Lydia is tempted by Dmitri Malofeyev. It would be easier and less tempestuous, as well as less dangerous if he married the beautiful and charming Si-qi. But of course he cannot ever give up Lydia, any more than he can give up his own life.
The next book is finally near its end. And I never say never when it comes to Lydia and Chang!

Kate Furnivall said...

Hi Karen,
Happy New Year to you - let's hope 2010 is a good one. Though all this snow in the UK is making it a scary start for many.
Valentina is at long last hurtling towards her fate. It is interesting that readers who are familiar with The Russian Concubine will regard her in quite a different light from those who have not read it. In THE JEWEL OF ST PETERSBURG she is full of hope and expectation, with no idea what it is like to go hungry or sleep in dirty sheets. But like Lydia, she's a fast learner! Only we know what lies ahead of her. I hope you will enjoy it.

catherine said...

Dear Kate,

I picked up the Russian Concubine, by chance, at a bookstore and read the captivating blurb and decided to buy it. How glad I am to have bought it! Since then, I have read all your books and delighted to have discovered another amazing author, and by chance :-)
I'm South African and I'm spending a year in the Netherlands, and facing the big freeze in Europe this winter! I read about the cold and snow in Russia from your books now I feel like I am experiencing it first hand! :-)
Hope the writing goes well and I look forward to the next book!
All the best,
Ps. I agree with Jessica, I would love to read another book about Lydia and Chang :-)

Kate Furnivall said...

Hi Catherine,
Delighted to hear from a South African, as I am scheduled to do a book tour of South Africa later this year. It's great to hear your enthusiasm for my books - and yes, I'm sure I will return to Lydia and Chang in the not too distant future. The cold of northern Europe, as in Russia, is fierce right now, so must come as a shock to a South African. A learning curve for us all!

angelito291 said...

I'm so relieved to hear that there is another book about Lydia and Chang! I love how historically accurate your books are, and even the small details of cultural manurisms, like the chinese and russian differences in the frame of mind (example, you once mention in The Girl from Junchow that the chinese don't really grasp the concept of waiting in line... that was one of my only complaints when I lived in china.
You really caught out attention! We can't wait for the next book!!

Sue said...

Hi Kate,
Let me say, I love your books! My first one was The Concubine's Secret. I happened to pick it up and bingo, after reading the first paragraph I was hooked! So, tracking down the Russian Concubine wasn't easy! Then, Brian wanted my Xmas list. Guess what, not only did he purchase the Russian Concubine but also, The Girl from Junchow, Under a Blood Red Sky, and The Red Scarf! I have worked out they have different publisher's but why the different names! It has obviously confused Brian?!!

Kate Furnivall said...

Hi Angelito,
It is deeply satisfying to have comments from someone like yourself who has actually lived in China and recognises the accuracy of the great divide between the cultures that I try to convey in The Russian Concubine. Researching the historical detail of my books is for me one of the great joys of writing. I am soon to start researching a new country with a fascinating culture for my next book - which I find very exciting.

Kate Furnivall said...

Hi Sue,
Poor Brian! So sorry about the confusion but I dump the blame firmly on my publishers. My UK publisher and my US publisher couldn't agree on a title with two of my books, so settled on different ones. This wouldn't matter if it weren't for the internet booksellers which offer the books all over the world, without mentioning the fact that some are the same story with a different title. Naughty! but fortunately my new one (due out this summer/autumn) will be called THE JEWEL OF ST PETERSBURG on both sides of the Atlantic. Phew! Peace at last. Delighted to hear you enjoy the books - despite their titles.

Anonymous said...

dear Kate..
I just finished reading "The cocubine's secret", I simply LOVE your books..
I was hooked with your first book "the russian concubine" and was so eager to read the second part, and it was WOW.
I am looking for "under a red blood sky", I can't wait to read it either. however, like the rest of your fans, I would love to see Lydia & Chang again, on a third book..
your are difinetly my favourite author.
best of luck, and keep those woderful books of your coming..

Kate Furnivall said...

Hi Anonymous 24 Feb,
Thanks for the cool comments. I love hearing that someone is hooked on Lydia and Chang - like I am! Another progression of their story is whirling around inside my head but first I am about to start a book about a whole different group of characters in a whole different venue. Can't wait to get going. In the meantime THE JEWEL OF ST PETERSBURG - the story of Lydia's parents,Valentina and Jens, in tsarist Russia - will be in the bookstores later this year.

Cyn Sadler said...

I am totally in love with your stories of the Russian Concubine.. Beautifully written.. I can actually feel the the city around me.You are an amazing author.. Kudos to you!!