Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Pancakes for Pub Day

Today The Book of Summers is published in the USA and Canada. I can remember talking to my editor at MIRA, Erika, very early on in the process; they were interested in publishing but an offer hadn't been made yet. I slipped out of work and took the call from New York sitting on a park bench. Erika told me how she was married to a Hungarian man, and how so much of the book resonated with her - that very weekend she had even been to a Szalonna Party (American readers, if you'd like to turn to page 49 in the book, all will be explained). The stars - and stripes - were surely aligned in my favour that day, and with the brilliant support of Erika & the team at MIRA, they have been ever since. 

This morning there was only one way to celebrate; American-style blueberry pancakes, with lashings of maple syrup. I threw in some strawberries for good measure, brewed a cup of coffee (served in my lucky Santa Fe mug, a souvenir from my New Mexican honeymoon), and sat down in the garden. It's amazing to think that across the Atlantic over the coming days, weeks, months, perhaps a reader will perform much the same ritual; a short stack, bottomless coffee, and The Book of Summers. Now that's my American Dream, right there. 

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Richard & Judy Summer Book Club

Today is paperback publication day for The Book of Summers in the UK, and just yesterday it was announced that my book has been chosen by Richard and Judy for their Summer Book Club. I've known about it for a little while and I've been bursting to tell - it's quite overwhelming that I can now shout about it. 

I've always been a fan of Richard and Judy's selections - some of my favourite contemporary novels have been past picks, Eve Green by Susan Fletcher, The Outcast by Sadie Jones, The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, and I'm honoured to be in such company. (American readers - if you're unfamiliar with the legends that are Richard and Judy, my US editor Erika brilliantly described them as 'think Oprah, with charming accents').

You can read both Richard and Judy's reviews of The Book of Summers in full HERE. Richard said "A delicate, atmospheric, regretful tale but full of redemption too. I absolutely loved it" and Judy, "A lovely story of a mother's love and shattered dreams. And the power of simple photographs and forgotten trinkets to mend broken hearts." A video interview will appear on the same site in the near future (we filmed yesterday) and in July a dedicated podcast will run, as well as a live web chat - I'll keep you posted.

The Book Club will be in all WHSmith stores throughout the summer, and also online, with regular Facebook updates. Wowzer. What more can I say? Only that I'm incredibly grateful to Richard and Judy for choosing The Book of Summers. I couldn't wish for a better start to my book's life as a paperback. 

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

A special commission

May is an exciting month for The Book of Summers, what with the UK paperback release and publication in the USA. To celebrate, I'd like to unveil a painting that I've specially commissioned. Lake Balaton is by the artist Alwyn Hall - aka my dad. 

Lake Balaton by Alwyn Hall


In The Book of Summers, Villa Serena is pervaded by the spirit of creativity - Zoltán's art, Marika's bohemia, Erzsi's freedoms - and in Erzsi's bedroom hangs Zoltán's painting of the lake. Originally my dad planned to recreate the 'brightly splashed canvases' of the Hungarian artist, but in the end favoured a more precise, detailed interpretation that is closer to his own work. The painting perfectly captures Lake Balaton - the endless blues of sky and water, the quality of light, and all the serenity of a perfect summer day. 

Monday, 7 May 2012

The lives of others - a Book Slam blog

There are so many books about the craft of writing, but what about the craftiness? Over on the Book Slam website I ask whether you've read How I Write - The Secret Lives of Authors, and explain why if you haven't, you really should... 

Read it HERE (the blog, not the book... although hopefully you'll be tempted to soon after).