Monday 31 March 2014

The Sea Garden US early copies

The countdown to publication this summer has begun - June in the US and July in the UK. In America, a limited number of early reading copies are now available, in the hope that word will begin to spread and there will be some initial reactions on review sites when the book goes on sale. If you would like an early copy of The Sea Garden (and you live in the US) you can apply using this link to HarperCollins in conjunction with the Shelf Awareness website.
I'm also thrilled that one of my favourite US authors, Sarah Jio has generously given us the following blurb:
"Deborah Lawrenson's writing is delicious. Her stories are atmospheric, intoxicating and impossible not to get lost in." --Sarah Jio, New York Times bestselling author of GOODNIGHT JUNE and BLACKBERRY WINTER
So please do get yourself a copy if you can - I'd love to know what you think! The only word of caution (which might interest those of you who like to follow the writing process) is that these early copies are printed from the uncorrected proofs that I was working on back in November and as such there are some mistakes and repetitions that have been excised from the finished book.

Thursday 20 March 2014

Picture story

Off soon...
Not too many words written for the blog lately, but that's because plenty have been put into the work in progress. Normally I wouldn't start serious work on a new novel before the previous one has been published. I know, plenty of writers do, but I usually work on a slower cycle. But this time an idea has caught fire and I can't resist going with it.
Let the pictures tell the tale.

Can't wait!

Thursday 13 March 2014

Orion party

A spectacular old-style publishing celebration last night in London: the Orion Authors party when more than seven hundred guests came to drink champagne in the Paul Hamlyn Hall at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. It was a stunning setting, the wrought-iron and glass structure lit up like a magical railway station.

I was happy before I even walked in with Araminta Whitley and Peta Nightingale from the LAW literary agency and fellow authors Veronica Henry and Kate Harrison, as we'd already hoisted a glass round the corner at the Opera Terrace. There were plenty of famous faces, including the legendary Lord Weidenfeld, Michael Palin, Julian Fellowes, Erica James, comedian Tim Vine, and, of course, The Hairy Bikers (without whom no Orion party would be complete) mingling with journalists, agents and editors in the thirsty crowd.
It's always lovely to plunge in to what seems like a sea of people only to find that there are plenty of old mates as well as new acquaintances to chat to. I can always find my old newspaper friends close to the bar! It's always a pleasure to see all the people who work so hard to make our words into real books and send them out into the world: Susan Lamb, Kate Mills, Jon Wood, Gaby Young and all those I didn't manage to say hello to.
I was able to tell Anne de Courcy and her editor Bea Hemming how much I loved her book The Fishing Fleet about the marriage market in colonial India. I really enjoyed meeting Katherine McMahon who wrote The Rose of Sebastopol. Bubbly Jean Fullerton, who writes the very successful Nurse Millie series swapped writing agonies with me. Then I bumped into someone I was great friends with at university and we had a fantastic catch-up.
As we reluctantly departed, all the guests were given a parting gift of two special edition books, beautifully designed as keepsakes of evening. Champagne, books, gossip and more serious conversation about books - as well as being part of a great publishing house - what more could anyone want?! I don't even feel tired today.


Monday 3 March 2014

Dark garden

“Dusk was falling early as she pedalled up the drive. The house grew more imposing, its grand façade streaked by the last rays of sunset permitted through the clotting sky. Most of the shutters were closed and, as she looked up, another was pulled shut by an unseen hand as if the inhabitants were locking themselves in, or securing the house to leave.”

                                                                                     From The Sea Garden
I took this photo at sunset on a summer evening through  a patch of wilderness in our garden. What I like best about it is the blackness of the foliage in contrast to the glorious sky. The trees curl round the picture but also make the lit clouds seem more distant. In a certain frame of mind, it could be quite a creepy scene: not so much about what is up and beyond but the darkness closing in on the ground.
You can't see anything of the garden, nothing is defined. It could be anything you wanted it to be...   
It's a bit like the anticipation of a book, or a film, or dinner out - anything that you hope will give pleasure. Sometimes it's the imagining you do beforehand that is the best bit. As an author, I am acutely aware that in the run-up to publication, readers will read blurbs and other teasers relating to a forthcoming book and let their own imaginations loose. We create the book in our mind that we long to read, one that will fulfil all our requirements for a truly satisfying read. The trouble is, the real thing can easily fall short of expectations.

What's brought this on? Pre-publication nerves, almost certainly, though there's a while to go yet before The Sea Garden comes out this summer. Or perhaps I'm in a more sensitive mood than I thought...
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