Publication day

I’m supposed to be immersed in Chapter 6 of the new book, the sequel to THE ILLUSIONISTS, but it’s hard to think myself into 1920s London when I keep wondering about what’s happening to the other volume on its first day out in the world. I should invest in that writers’ app that shuts off the internet, no quibbling, for an interval that you pre-agree with yourself. Or perhaps I’ll just give up and do the ironing.

It is almost exactly four years, I realise, since the original idea for THE ILLUSIONISTS came to me while I was gnawing my pencil in the library on the trail of another notion altogether. It’s impossible to harvest an idea in the process of trying to have an idea – they come out of the ether when you are in the throes of something else. The writing itself is different; you chip doggedly away, on some days cutting more than you create, on other days having a small surge of a few paragraphs. It’s slow work, deliberate in intent and execution, and on a daily scale seeming removed from any process of inspiration. It’s more like tiling, or darning. Although I know that many authors don’t see it like that it all.

I love hearing other writers talk, so I’m just off to Suffolk to the Aldeburgh literary festival. I’ll be seeing Patrick Gale, Sarah Dunant and – if I can steal or forge or embezzle a ticket – Hermione Lee discussing her wonderful biography of Penelope Fitzgerald, one of my favourite writers.

Thanks to all for following these accounts of bringing a book to market.

I think I’ve got a bit of post-natal depression…..

10 thoughts on “Publication day

  1. Have a great time at Aldeburgh, Rosie. You deserve every minute! I’ve got a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign firmly in place! 🙂

  2. Hi Rosie
    Just a quick note to say thanks for the new novel. I’d pre-ordered it on Kindle and was delighted when it arrived like magic yesterday morning, especially after reading about its gestation in your most enjoyable blogs. I haven’t finished it yet, of course – I’m enjoying it too much to want to rush it – but after reading your latest post I thought I’d let you know that one copy of the “other volume” is settling down just nicely here in Tasmania!
    I’ve read and enjoyed many of your books and this one is certainly different. However, as always I love the way you are able to create such an evocative atmosphere, and in this case I very quickly felt I was in Victorian London!
    I guess I have a particular connection to this book because I am also an “engineer of automata”. I’ve built several, but nothing as sophisticated as Lucie in the novel. Maybe one day!
    Thanks for sharing so much of the novel-writing process with us – it’s fascinating!

    • Mike, thank you. It’s hard to get my head around the fact that on the morning of UK publication you are already reading the book in Tasmania. What would Swift or Defoe have thought?
      Fascinating to hear about your automata. Please don’t bring too much critical knowledge to bear on my imaginary engineer. Although I know there were some quite amazing and intricate pieces constructed in the nineteenth century. I expect you will have read that chilling tale The Sandman?

      • Hi Rosie
        Yes, I’ve read the Sandman, and some of Hoffman’s other stories. He was obviously fascinated with automata, even if they didn’t always end up too well!
        By the way, have you read “The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin” by Harry Houdini? Houdini famously named himself after the celebrated French magician Jean Robert-Houdin, but later became disillusioned when he discovered that his hero claimed in his Memoirs to have invented several stage illusions and automata that had in fact been invented by others, sometimes decades earlier. Houdini debunks Robert-Houdin’s claims in this book and in the process provides a fascinating history of illusionists and automata. The book is profusely illustrated with old posters, handbills, lithographs etc but unfortunately in the Kindle edition they’re very small and hard to read.
        I loved The Illusionists – great atmosphere, memorable characters and an interesting story – what more could a reader want? I’m now looking forward to the sequel to find out what happens next!

  3. Hi, I had a message from Annabel to say I won a signed copy of your new book. I am so pleased and cannot wait to see it. As a new author myself I have been following your blogs with great interest and wish you continued success. You are inspiring me to carry on. Many thanks Dawn Lanham ( S.D Thomas Secrets or Lies? ) Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2014 17:19:56 +0000 To:

  4. Very pleased you got one of the books! You MUST carry on writing – I know sometimes it seems beyond difficult, even impossible, but you will already know how the moments of satisfaction outweigh the grim days. Good luck, and very best wishes.

  5. Aaaah! I feel bereft already! I’ve just finished it, Rosie! :-(. Loved it as usual with all your books and now am gasping for the sequel! 🙂 I won’t say more than that at present in case I spoil it for others still reading – and that’s one of my pet hates. A big thumbs up from me!


  6. Have just finished reading The Illusionists – ‘sitting on my cushions enjoying a romantic novel’ – and what a romantic one and sexy, exciting, charming, unputdownable. Lovely.Thank you x

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