Two more publication days

The Canadian edition I’ve just received the copies of the Canadian edition -so good to have it in my hands at last.  The picture doesn’t do justice to the highly finger-able raised lettering, or the gloss on the playing cards, nor does it show the deckle fore-edge, but it does look dark and sumptuous. I am thrilled with it, and my Canadian editor says the early orders are great. I know I’d pick it up! It’s now published over there, and in the US too. Fingers crossed for both these editions. There’s a great review in July’s US Booklist:

‘Thomas’ follow-up to her wide-ranging romantic epic, The Kashmir Shawl (2013), takes place within the narrower confines of the Victorian theatrical world but is equally gripping. In 1885, when the charismatic Devil Wix meets Carlo Boldoni, a dwarf with undeniable magical skills, they become a dynamic team whose “box trick” electrifies audiences at a shabby venue in London’s Strand. Devil has grand ambitions,though—“to transform the Palmyra theatre into a palace of illusions . . . it should be a place of wonderment.” The darkly compelling Devil, an unrepentant gambler with a haunted past, grabs readers’
attention from page one. Surrounding him is a varied cast that includes Heinrich Bayer, who unnervingly treats his mechanical dance partner like a real woman, and Eliza Dunlop, a smart, courageous artist’s model hoping for a starring role in Devil’s life. While the background details on stage magic and the theater business are captivating, Devil and Eliza’s ardent love story is the book’s emotional heart, and the ever-changing connections among all its intriguing performers fill it with genuine life and vitality.’

This is very encouraging, particularly as I am caught in the coils of of the sequel – present title DAUGHTER OF THE HOUSE – somewhere around chapter 12. Three-quarters of the way through a book is often a low point for me. The end should be in sight, but it very much isn’t. There are so many strands of the story still to be worked out, so many loose ends to be darned in, and quite a lot of gaping holes without any threads to fill them. I need a significant act of bravery for one of my characters to perform and thus change our opinions of him. What can it be? At this moment I haven’t a clue. But this is the job!

There does always come a day when I suddenly realise I am sprinting to the last chapter, and there is no more exhilarating moment. The actual last page is often an anticlimax, and half an hour later comes the thought – what can I do NEXT?

5 thoughts on “Two more publication days

  1. That cover looks really swish and high class, Rosie! How was Italy? Was it good to get back or were you dreading it? Progress on the new book sounds as though it’s coming along well – even with all the ends to darn in! 🙂 The main thing is – are you happy with it so far? I can’t wait for it to be published. (I know that’s a way off yet!) Keep well and happy, and keep us all up to date with your activities. Don’t work too hard!

    Rosemary K

    • Hi Rosemary, thanks for your messages. Italy was wonderful. Warmth in its bones, every vista beautiful – even the ordinary ones. Ten days felt like a really long break, half of it spent crewing a sailing boat for a friend, the other half reading and sunbathing. I was lucky to have early copies of both David Mitchell AND Sarah Waters, and was impressed by both. Always a struggle to get back to one’s own half-formed thing!
      I’m hard at work now, and apart from some planned walking this weekend I’ll be hard at it until September. All best wishes to you and yours.

  2. Hello Rosie, hope that back problem of yours has settled, I`m sure the sun and sea in Italy did wonders for you.
    I`m fascinated to read that your story has a life of its own and that the answers within the story only come as the plot progresses. I have to admit that I would love the ability to create such magical adventures from within the confines of my own mind, how do you do that?
    I realise there must be mountains of research you have to undertake to create the details of another time and place, but where do the characters and plots come from Rosie and how do you begin to create them?
    I love to write and still enjoy sending the old fashioned letter to friends and family, though I only ever receive emails in return. Writing and describing my own story are easy but to make the leap to create characters and plots seems like a whole other process and I`m baffled about how that process begins, any hints? Good luck with the darning.

    • Dear Fran, thank you for this interesting question. I wish I could answer it. I know some authors plan and plot and design narrative arcs etc. I can’t work like that – if I know what’s going to happen my anxiety fades, and with it the drive. I’d probably write much better, tighter books if I could plan, though. But you can only work in the way that works, and after 20-odd books I know what my way is. I tell myself the story, and hope that if it’s engaging me as I go along it will do the same for readers. I ask myself, what should happen to them all in the next chapter? Who will fall in love, who will fail, who will learn something important about life? The research I fill in as and when it’s necessary–today I have been looking up London bus strikes in 1923!!!
      If I’ve got any advice, it’s try not to be fearful. Let your imagination loose and see where it takes you. Write a page, free associate, see what unfolds. I have started more than one novel like that! It’s scary, but exciting. A character might be intended just to populate a scene, for example, but then unfurls into a major player. I don’t know how!
      I find solo exercise helps me: running, long distance walking, gym etc. My mind sort of goes into neutral while I’m gasping and struggling, and neutral is fertile, oddly enough. This might work for you too? Some writers swear by a daily swim.
      It’s the main reason why having a bad back is such a bore at present – no exercise!
      Let me know how it goes. Keep writing. Your f and f will treasure your letters, even though they may not respond in kind.
      Good luck.

      • Thank you Rosie, I`m guessing writing is a lot like creative art, my daughter and I call it “being in our right hemisphere”. From what I have learned our left hemisphere keeps us focused on survival chores and everyday worries and our brains need to be tricked into allowing the right hemisphere to engage. I know when it does as hours pass without any effort at all and what is being created flows from one aspect to the next.
        I did a drawing course some years back and looking back into pages of my work I can see easily where I was in “the zone” and when I couldn`t get there. So I`m guessing it`s the same process for writing, however creating a picture appears easier than creating a story. I`m thinking a story also creates a picture but using words instead of images. I think perhaps I need to just choose a favourite subject and give it a try. Whenever I`m deep in a story I know my mind is well and truly lost in the place and people I`m reading about and it is certainly internally visual. Thank you for the advise, time to put it to use.
        Bad backs are relentless, I injured mine age 29 years and it takes time to heal just keep the faith that it will improve over time.

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