I really have had my head down and writing hard for the last month or so, not thinking of anything much beyond the current page or how to get into the next scene. So I was startled to get a request from my Canadian publishers for a 100-150 word description of the book that they could use to circulate amongst colleagues for the in-house launch. I really shouldn’t have been surprised; the new novel will be published on both sides of the Atlantic in the first half of the year and it’s impressive that they are already gearing up for the sell-in and want to whet some appetites. But what should I say? It’s not even finished! What if it isn’t any good?? Oh, help!!! This is the point at which the writer does really feel like the grain of sand at the very bottom of the inverted pyramid of expectation.
I had to give myself a good kicking. I’m a professional writer and the only way forward is to man up and get on with it. I put together a few sentences about DAUGHTER OF THE HOUSE and sent them to Canada, and this is what they came back with:
A captivating tour-de-force of love, magic, and the theatre, perfect for fans of Sarah Waters, The Night Circus, and Water for Elephants
The dazzling sequel to The Illusionists, from the beloved and bestselling author of The Kashmir Shawl
The year is 1910: Eliza’s life has been utterly transformed since she dove head-first into the bohemian world of the Palmyra Theatre, becoming first a stage player and, since her marriage to impresario Devil Wix, a canny woman of business. She is now the mother of growing children, and in her family life as well as at the theatre she must face the challenges of a new century.
The First World War changes the world forever, and the fortunes of the Wix family change with it. Eliza’s daughter, Nancy, must find a way to keep the Palmyra afloat, and to entertain audiences who have lost husbands and sons in the conflict. Nancy is a born performer, but she is set apart—even from her beloved brothers—by her psychic gifts. She learns that she must harness her troubling powers, under the tutelage of the mysterious Mr. Feather, to keep the family and the theatre intact.
It is a dangerous path and a lonely one, but Nancy’s bold choices lead her to love, and beyond that to the recognition of what it takes to become a modern woman. As another war begins to threaten the world, she is forced into a final, fateful confrontation with her demons, and must marshal both her ingenuity and her mysterious talents to fight for the survival of friendship, independence, and family.
“Love, seduction, magic and illusion collide as Rosie Thomas takes us on a spellbinding journey through an extremely shadowy world.” —Daily Express on The Illusionists
Wow. I want to read it myself!
This first engagement with a fresh publishing cycle has really given me a burst of energy. I’ve still got a chapter-and-a-half to write, but you know what?
I can do it.