Friday 16 October 2015

Be one of the first to read!

Faro, Portugal, setting for the opening of my forthcoming novel, 300 Days of Sun. Over on my facebook page, HarperCollins US are offering the chance for three readers to win an very early copy of the book, in bound galley proof. If you're on facebook, please do check it out. The book is going to look beautiful and here are some photos to set the scene and a taster of what's inside, from (almost) the start:

I met Nathan Emberlin in Faro, southern Portugal, in August 2014.

At first, I thought he was just another adventurous young man, engaging but slightly immature. His beautiful sculpted face held a hint of vulnerability, but that ready smile and exuberant cheekiness eased his way, as did the radiant generosity of his spirit, so that it wasn’t only women who smiled back; people of all ages warmed to Nathan, even the cross old man who guarded the stork’s nest on the lamppost outside the tobacconist’s shop.

Yes, he appeared from nowhere – but then, so did we all. I didn’t go to Faro to get a story. That summer, I was on the run, or so it felt; I was trying to consign an awkward episode to my own past, not to get entangled in someone else’s. Besides, a lot of people I met in Faro were in the process of change, of expanding their horizons and aiming for a better life. The town was full of strangers and constant movement: planes overhead, roaring in and out of the airport across the shore; boats puttering in and out of the harbour; trains sliding between the road and the sea; buses and cars; pedestrians bobbing up and down over the undulating cobblestones.


The café, at least, was still. On the way to the language school, it had the presence and quiet grace of an ancient oak, rooted to its spot in the Rua Dr Francisco Gomes. The columns and balustrades of its once-grand fin-de-siècle façade had an air of forgotten romance that was hard to resist. I pushed against its old-style revolving door that first morning simply because I was curious to see inside.


I went up to the main counter, into an aromatic cloud of strong coffee, where a group of men knotted over an open newspaper. The barman, wiping his hands on an apron that was none too clean, seemed to be engaged in voicing his opinion and was in no hurry to serve me.

Photographs of old Faro were set into wooden panelling: black and white scenes of a fishing community, of empty roads and dusty churches. The argument at the bar counter intensified, or that’s what it sounded like. It’s not always possible to tell in a foreign language. It might just be excitability. But some words were easy to understand.
Contra a natureza. Anorma. Devastador.
So, if you'd like to be one of the first to read on, there's still time to get your name in the draw. Good luck - and I'd love to know what you think. The publisher's catalog copy is here, and we've had the first blurb from the lovely and very generous Erika Robuck, author of the fab Hemingway's Girl and The House of Hawthorne among other seriously good reads:
"With its lush settings, high-stakes suspense, and novel-within-a-novel, 300 DAYS OF SUN delivers a labyrinth of complex relationships the reader is both breathless to solve and eager to return to upon completion. I lost sleep reading this fabulous, haunting novel."


Marcheline said...

Can't wait!! 8-)

Heather Robinson said...

This excerpt made me not only really anticipating reading the novel but also made me want to hop on a plane for Faro, tout de suite!

I hope you are spared of this rain up in the Luberon...

Mary said...

Can't wait to visit it too!

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