International travel is all very well until you try to write a blog post with hideous jetlag, so let’s just get on with it before I fall asleep until September! Here’s what we got up to last month …
I actually don’t know where to start with July – it feels like I lived a whole year in a month! What a crazy, amazing, emotional two weeks Heather and I had on our whirlwind American book tour for MEET ME IN MONACO. Over 15 events in 12 days, we covered thousands of miles by plane and car, and visited a total of six states. Among other things, we visited beautiful Indie bookstores who all made us feel so welcome, a golf & country club in Charleston, two huge mass book signings at the RWA conference in New York, a radio station in Soho NYC, and we finished up with a 1950s themed party with a book club in Westport, Massachusetts. Our schedule was on the bonkers side of manic, but we survived on iced coffee, dubious airport food, dry shampoo and hair curlers, cocktails, Cheeze-Its, laughter, and some essential down time at the beach (pro-tip).
As if all that wasn’t exciting enough, when I landed at Boston airport on day one of our tour, I found out that while I was mid-air at 30000ft, THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER had been longlisted for the very fancy 2019 HWA Gold Crown award which recognises the best historical fiction published in the last year! Then, midway through our tour, we heard that MEET ME IN MONACO was chosen by the New York Post as one of their books of the week. Of course we were very calm about this news! AND, I heard very exciting news this month that my next historical novel will be published in late 2020. I’ve been secretly writing the book for two years and CANNOT WAIT to tell you all about it as soon as the ink is dry on the contracts!
I’m now back home, and enjoying plenty of strong Irish tea with proper milk (what’s with the half and half and creamer stuff, America?!). Meet Me in Monaco releases in Ireland and the UK on 5th September, so I’ll be back then to do it all again. Send caffeine! In the meantime, there’s the small matter of two new books to get on with, another exciting secret project to get off the ground, and a looming house move. Send everything!
Here’s how July should’ve gone: I should’ve missed it completely due to my being chained to my desk from dusk ‘til dawn, cranking out at least 2,000 words a day, only emerging now, pale and bleary-eyed and within a sip of a caffeine overdose, to tell you that. Instead I kicked off July by celebrating my birthday in London, seeing Harry Potter and The Cursed Child and staying in a hotel that used to be a courthouse where the staff wear prison garb and there’s a witness box and mugshots in the bar. Then there was some SECRET filming for something SECRET. (Oooh, the mystery!) The postman delivered the first hardcover copy of Rewind and I cried. I spent a week at West Cork Literary Festival, teaching a crime-writing workshop. While there I met Tana French for the first time and managed to be only about 60% Annie Wilkes, which I felt was a win.
I came home for 12 hours, 7 of which I spent asleep, then flew to Leeds for the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival, where I was a table host at the murder mystery dinner. (Spoiler alert: we didn’t guess who’d done the murdering bit.) Then it was off to Geneva, from where I made my way to the absolutely stunning Lake Annecy to teach plotting to a lovely group of international writers who had gathered there for a writing retreat. Then I went to Nice, intending to write, but got distracted by the beach, glasses of rosè, and taking totally on-brand pictures of Meet Me in Monaco by a certain Hazel Gaynor, as well as obsessively following her adventures Stateside. Then when I got home I had Love Island to catch up on. I mean… It’s been a month of beautiful sights, wonderful people and fantastic fun (and a toddler kicking the back of my chair for TWO AND A QUARTER HOURS on my final flight home, thanks Aer Lingus!) but my To Do list now has cobwebs on it.
The lovely Elizabeth Haynes, author Into The Darkest Corner, shared online that she’d managed to keep up her 2,000 word a day output even while at Harrogate. I replied that I hadn’t even managed to answer my emails. I’m really looking forward to filling my coffee mug, hunkering down and getting the word count up over the next few weeks. Oh wait. I have a book coming out, don’t I? Erm…
While Hazel and Catherine have been on exciting rockstar style adventures around the globe, one of us IP’ers had to stay at home and keep an eye on things. So, this diary entry is going to seem very tame compared to my IP sisters. But the reality for writers is 90% sitting at your desk, with 10% rock star moments.
What have I been up to? Well, apart from perfecting my juggling routine as working mom and entertainer of two kids who are on school holidays, it’s been a quiet month. Copy edits were completed on Greta (aka book 8). Praise be! The story has evolved so much from the original concept I had almost two years ago. And I’m so proud of the final result. It’s all about the creative now – the right title, cover, blurb, tag line … My publisher, agent, marketer and I began brainstorming book titles four weeks ago … any minute now! Once we agree on a title, the art department will finish the cover, then proofs will be made and we’ll be another step closer to seeing the finished book on a bookshelf.
I’ve done a little more on What If (aka book 9), but in all honesty, I won’t get cracking on the shitty first draft of this until September. I did start work on a passion project! I make up stories for the kids all the time to pass the time while we are driving. And one about our rescue dog’s start in life grew legs, or rather four paws and a tail. So I started to write it down. Nate is already thinking movie and franchise deals – that boy knows how to dream – but I’m writing this one for me and my kids. It may never do anything other than entertain us as a family, but who knows?
In August, A Thousand Roads Home will be published in UK, Ireland, US and Australia in both mass paperback (small size) and audio. It’s held onto its orange bestseller tag for two months now on Amazon. My quirky fab four, Ruth, DJ, Tom and Bette Davis are doing me proud! Now, back to that juggling …