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.