Monday, 2 April 2012

Busy, busy

The Book of Summers has now been out in the world for one month and a day... In all the excitement of publication I've missed posting a few things, so here's something of a round-up of what's been going on at Camp Summer.

I've been speaking to some lovely book bloggers and doing interviews with Lloyd Paige, The Unlikely Bookworm and Jaffa Reads Too as well as a Publication Day guest blog over at Our Book Reviews. The Book of Summers has also been reviewed by plenty of book bloggers, and here are some of my recent favourites: Lovely Lovely Books ('evocative, accomplished and just gorgeous'), Fleur Fisher In Her World ('wonderful descriptions, well drawn characters, real emotions'), Something Booky ('absolutely stunning'), The Unlikely Bookworm ('poignant and utterly captivating'). I've been lucky to be getting some really lovely reviews over on Waterstones, Amazon and Good Reads, and a couple of particular write-ups made my day - this from Fictions Online ('an astoundingly beautiful tale') and from Marleen ('unexpected treasures'). 

March has turned out to be the month where I've bought more magazines than ever before and across the broadest spectrum - from Heat to The Spectator - and I've been chuffed to find great reviews and mentions for The Book of Summers in all of them. I've added choice quotes to my website HERE. Several of my favourite write-ups are in full online, in Cosmopolitan, The Spectator and The Big Issue. I wrote a short story celebrating Mother's Day for My Weekly - sadly it isn't available on the web, but I loved writing it. Like The Book of Summers it's about the poignancy of memory and mother and daughter ties. I was chuffed to bits that the super stylish Stylist Magazine also picked The Book of Summers as one of the 'hottest debuts of 2012', calling it 'fantastically evocative and sun-drenched.' But the magazine entry that elicited the biggest gasp from me was probably the shot in Grazia, where a quite humungous pic of The Book of Summers appeared in the 'Hot things to do now' listing...

Two summers ago I attended Marie Claire's How To Get Published workshop at the Bristol Hotel du Vin - the magazine interviewed me just before Publication Day and the write-up appeared in the Inspire & Mentor section of their website - you can see it here. I wrote about how memories of sun-kissed childhood holidays inspired my writing over on the We Love This Book site. And I was also interviewed by The Western Morning News - for a Devon gal, that was quite something - you can read the piece in full here. The spread in the paper made use of some of my dad's holiday snaps, including this rather beautiful image of Lake Balaton at sunset.

I've had an incredible first month as a published author and the generosity of feeling towards The Book of Summers has been astounding. In the week before Mother's Day I met a couple of old work pals in a bar by the waterside and signed six books, writing the names of their mothers and girlfriends. I received an email from a friend in Shanghai, passing on a family review, with such a glowing report from her mum that my cheeks ached from beaming. I've had excited phone calls and text messages from friends who've spotted the book in stores all over, and been sent snaps of it in Auckland, Kilkenny and Dublin. As well as the brilliant press coverage, it's these kind of things that have made this first month so special. It's often quoted that once your book is out there in the world then it's no longer yours. Two weeks before I was published I blogged about this over at Book Slam, and vowed to stay sanguine in the face of reviews. All reviews. For amidst the rave there have, of course, been a handful that proved less enjoyable to read - and against all reason it's always one negative remark that lingers longer than ten positive comments. It's a truth universally acknowledged that by writing and publishing you're opening yourself to inevitable criticism. But also generosity and warmth, often from unexpected quarters. If The Book of Summers doesn't belong to me anymore then that's just fine - I'm only too happy to share it. And I'll never stop feeling lucky that I can.