Thank you to everyone to came by to say hello in response to The Lantern giveaway to celebrate the arrival of the
deluxe paperback edition ahead of the mass market version coming out in April. US
I am delighted to announce that the two names out of the hat were:
Sandra Dickerson Knight
Jo Ann Hitt Black
I’ll send each of you a private message, and you can let me an address so I can send off the books. Hope you enjoy it. Sorry to those of you who weren’t lucky this time, but you might like to know that it’s the March Book Pick at Costco and to mark the event they are giving away 50 free copies – and here’s the link for another go at winning: Costco Giveaway
Wondering how to illustrate this post, I had a dig around all the back papers for the novel and came across the handwritten notes in the photograph. According to the date at the top, they were made on the
Avignon to train in November 2009. I love finding things like this because although I do sometimes write on the train, it’s hard to remember exactly what I was scribbling down and when. But the page here obviously contains the genesis of this passage in the finished book: Paris
Bénédicte drifts though the rooms of the lower floors, into the dust of venerable scents: flecks of the lavender held in the corners of drawers; flakes of pine wood armoire; the soot of long-dead fires; and from the present: the deep mossy aroma from cloud formations of damp above the rose-tiled floor; the sharp white smells of late spring flowers outside.
These visitors are new. She is sure she has never seen them before though she closes her eyes and tries to think calmly, to count her breaths, slowing her intake of air, scouring her memory to make sure. When she opens her eyes, they are still there.
The strangeness is that they stare straight into her face, just as they look around her so intently, into the corners of the rooms, up to the cracked ceilings, the fissures in the walls, yet they don’t acknowledge her presence. All is silent, but for the tapping of the catalpa tree in the courtyard and the creak of a newly-opened shutter that lets in a shifting band of brightness.
I will sit a while longer, Bénédicte thinks. Watch to see what they do next.
Breathe. Breathe deeply.