Saturday, 17 July 2010


Trips up to London, website questionnaires, telephone interviews, magazine requests for articles and stories. Yes, it's that time again when I emerge from my cocoon. My new book The Jewel of St Petersburg is about to be published - August in the US and November in the UK - and the exciting process of putting my name about has started.

Last week I was wined and dined right royally by my publisher, Jo Dickinson, with a whole bunch of the marketing and sales bigwigs from Little Brown UK, along with fellow author, the lovely Bernadette Strachan. The venue was a classy restaurant on the Embankment in London overlooking the Thames - though we were downstairs in a private room. I think they were hiding us away in a wine cellar, not quite trusting authors to behave properly!

They are such a super team at Little Brown UK, I count myself lucky. I assure you that not all publishing houses are as warm and welcoming or go out of their way to make the experience easy for you. Bernie and I managed not to drop gravy over any of them or throw wine over our nextdoor neighbour - which was my cringe-worthy pi├Ęce-de-resistance last time I was at a restaurant in London.

Most of the year a writer keeps in regular touch with editors and PR, but it is rare to have the chance of a get-together with the marketing and sales teams. These are the people at the sharp end of book selling. It turned out to be quite an eye-opener at times. Like the fact that they get about one minute to sell your book to the supermarket buyers. Supermarkets are now major players in the book world and it's important to get them on board. But ... one minute?? That takes some pretty fast talking and an ability to push the right buttons straight off. I just had to hug these guys. They do such a fabulous job for me.

So while The Jewel of St Petersburg picks up its skirts and starts dancing, I am now deeply engrossed in Malaya where my next book is set. Fighting my way through steamy heat and jungle, sailing the Malacca Straits, lazing on colonial verandas and knocking back the gin-slings. Oh yes, and there's an occasional Zero or two on the horizon. A far cry from the snowy elegance of St Petersburg. That's the joy of writing - you never know what's coming next.


Traci said...


I am so glad that I only have 2 more weeks to wait for your newest book! I am sooo looking forward to it! :)

Also, I want to thank you & your publisher for making it available for the Kindle--I live in the boonies, so there are no bookstores near me.


Kate Furnivall said...

Hi Traci,
Lovely to hear from you. I am very excited myself about the publication of JEWEL. Already it's getting super reviews in the trade press in US, so I have my fingers crossed for it. It's like watching your child's first steps - heart in the mouth stuff!
We all think of Kindle as a convenient way to store books but, of course, for people who live nowhere near a bookstore it is the ideal alternative. Enjoy it. If you like the book, do stick a comment on Amazon to tell others. Authors and publishers always keep an eye out for what goes up on Amazon. Thanks.

Traci said...

Hi Kate,

I will definitely leave glowing reviews for you on Amazon- I KNOW I will love it!

You have such an amazing gift for storytelling. You are able to make me FEEL like I am in the midst of the story, in whatever time & place you are writing about. I love that your novels don't feel formulaic or predictable, like most books published these days. There are only 3 authors that I would ever re-read...and you are one of them. Thank you for bringing history alive with such amazing detail!

I am sure that your "baby" will be up and running in no time. :)


Anonymous said...

I'm so excited!!! :-)

Golden Girl

Kate Furnivall said...

Hi Golden Girl,
That makes two of us! Hope you can get it in Switzerland okay.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kate,

I can't wait to read The Jewel of St Petersburg. I loved Valentina in your first book. She is such a fascinating character and I can only guess at what might have turned her into the person she became. I know you will make it a fascinating journey for all of us. Thank you for great books.

Sveta said...

Hey Katie, looking forward to getting to know more about Valentina, by the way, will your Malaya book be more about Lydia and Chang? ;) Or completely different characters?

Kate Furnivall said...

Hi Debbie,
Thanks for your comments. I'm glad you liked Valentina in the first book because I have a huge soft spot for her myself and I couldn't bear to let her life be so short. So I extended it by writing the early part and I had great fun doing it. She is as determined and difficult as her daughter but with different weaknesses and vulnerabilities. I found it very exciting to explore the days of tsarist Russia and to discover how Valentina did or didn't fit into it. I hope you enjoy it.

Kate Furnivall said...

Hi Sveta,
Great to know readers are awaiting Valentina's reappearance. She would be so thrilled to be making a grand entrance on to the bookshelves again! My Malaya book is not about Lydia and Chang, but about different characters, set in 1941/42. I am really enjoying exploring a completely new environment with heat and humidity, instead of the snow and ice of Moscow. To be honest, my publisher has suggested I leave the final book on Lydia and Chang for a while, as she doesn't want me to get labelled as just a 'Russian' writer.

T said...

I'm so excited about your Malaya book! Malaysia is a fascinating country to me and I'm sure you'll do a great job exploring it through your writing. Any chance than you can tell us a little bit about the story? ;)

Kate Furnivall said...

Hi T,
I agree with you about Malaya being a fascinating country. My book will be set in 1941/42, following the fortunes of a group of people who flee by boat from the Japanese invasion. Though set during the war it is in no way a 'war' book, but as always I am fascinated by what happens to people when they are put under stress.

marytea13 said...

I have read all 3 books but I do not know what the Concubine's secrett was? Was it that she lied about Alexi being fathered by Jens? otherwise I could not work it out please explain? TIA