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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Lions, Planets and Dreams That Come True

According to the Waterstones website, my novel, Tying Down The Lion, is only 110 days away!

November 3rd is the date set for its release, sliding in nicely with the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in the same week. (In a small twist of fate, the Wall was built on my first birthday in 1961. And it came down on the date that would become my middle daughter's birthday.)

There is a little blurb about Tying Down The Lion and a small interview about me here and here, which some of you will have seen on Facebook. Thank you for all those heart-warming words of support. Truly, thank you. As you all know, writing is a solitary delight, but the encouraging words of friends bring an immeasurable support that spurs a writer on. It reminds me of learning to swim as a child. I really struggled as I left my depth and was on the verge of panic. And out of the blue, one of those thick polystyrene floats bobbed by, just within reach, and also large and white enough for me to see without my glasses. (Not that I knew what it was. It felt like a huge slice of Sunblest bread. Why were those floats always so nibbled-looking?)

TDTL was a joy to write and I always hoped like mad that it would be published. But I knew there were no guarantees and I didn't want to have any expectations in case I was disappointed. Huge thanks to Rosemary for suggesting I try approaching smaller, independent publishing companies. As soon as I did just that, I was offered the contract and everything fell into place.

Brick Lane are fabulous - friendly, efficient and brilliant at keeping me informed at each step of the process. I couldn't ask for more. They are organising the cover at the moment, having shown me all their exciting ideas for it before they were sent to the artwork designer. When I see it, I know I'm going to be absolutely overwhelmed. Just seeing the ISBN stopped me in my tracks. But the cover will make it all feel real and a fifty-year dream will have come true.

My short stories are being published in hardback by Ink Tears, who approached me in 2012 after I was a runner-up in their competition. They are bringing out their first three collections soon, all of which I hope to talk about in a future post. Mine, which is called When Planets Slip Their Tracks, will follow on after those, possibly this winter or early next year. Once again, the experience is a joy. I have met some lovely people and been kept fully informed every step of the way. There are so many things to think about, from blurbs and bylines to interviews and endorsements. But my favourite part of the magical process was proofreading and polishing the stories, all of which are from various competitions and many have appeared in anthologies over the years. I read each one out loud and loved every minute of it. I tucked myself away in my youngest daughter's bedroom (she was at school sitting her GCSE exams), where I wouldn't disturb my husband and middle daughter working in other rooms. After reading them, I was amazed by how many improvements there were to be made. And the copy-editors might find more!

It's wonderful to imagine these stories together in one volume and feels as if it's come about almost by magic - if gluing myself to my chair, hunching over the keyboard and frowning at my screen from dawn until dusk could be construed as magic. I certainly remind myself of a grumpy old witch weaving a spell. I even let out the occasional cackle.

I hope everyone who reads either of these books will enjoy them, especially if they feel moved enough to smile, laugh, or maybe even cry. Again, I'd prefer not to have high expectations, but if any of the characters remain with you, that really would be my ultimate dream come true.




21 comments:

  1. Joanna - I feel your joy and delight in having your novel (and short story collection) published and I can't wait to read both. As you know, I've always been a great admirer of your stories. Thank you so much for mentioning me - that was kind of you and I'm only pleased that your talent will be more widely acknowledged!

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    1. Thank you, Rosemary, for all your encouragement and advice. Your kind words are hugely appreciated and always spur me on. xxx

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  2. This is a lovely stage, Joanna, isn't it. Enjoy it, and very good luck with the novel.

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    1. Thank you, Frances. It does feel fantastic and I'm loving every minute. xxx

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  3. What a joy it was to read this post and your interviews. I loved reading how you came about your title, Tying Down The Lion and I just know it is going to be a wonderful read. And the coincidence with the rise and fall of the Berlin wall and your birthdays is rather magical. I am so happy for you, Joanna x

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    1. Thank you, Teresa, so much. I'm glad you enjoyed reading about it and your very kind words are much appreciated. Many, many thanks for being so supportive. xxx

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  4. This is so exciting. What a fabulous title. It sounds really great and I guarantee to buy a copy. Can't wait.

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    1. I'm so pleased you like the title, Lindsay, and thank you so much for your lovely, kind and encouraging words. It is such an exciting time and I love to hear that friends are excited about it too. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. xxx

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  5. I am so thrilled for you, Joanna and looking forward to both the novel and the story collection. Look forward to seeing the cover.

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    1. Many, many thanks, Wendy. I absolutely can't wait to see the cover and every day I wake up wondering if this will be the day! I'm very grateful for all your encouragement and support. xxx

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  6. What a lovely post - it's encouraging to hear about your writing journey and can only imagine the excitement you must now be feeling:) Love the synchronicities with that date. Looking forward to reading both of your books! x

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    1. Many thanks, Vikki. I appreciate those very kind words very much and love to think of you reading my books. It's so exciting I can hardly sleep! xxx

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  7. I can't wait! I can't wait! I want them both - NOW!!!!!!

    So wonderful and so exciting. Well done you!

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    1. Huge thanks to you, Bernadette, for your constant encouragement and friendship. I so hope you enjoy reading my books. It's amazing to think of this long-held dream becoming real at last. I have simply loved every minute of writing them. I'm in the throes of a first draft of the next novel and love doing it so much that it's reminded me that, whether I get published again or not, it's the writing that I love best of all. Thank you so much for your support, Bernadette. I appreciate it beyond measure. xxx

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  8. I am absolutely delighted for you, this is so very well deserved , Joanna, you must be thrilled! They will both be at the very top of my reading list! xx

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    1. Thank you, Sallie. That's very kind of you. I can still hardly believe it's all happening, convinced someone will tell me one day that it's all a mistake. Happily, I'm grounding myself and keeping focused by writing the next novel.

      I really appreciate your support, Sallie. Thank you so much. xxx

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  9. How exciting for you! The very best of luck with it all - although I'm sure you wont need it! Your books sound wonderful.

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  10. Thank you, Pat. That's so kind of you. The excitement keeps building, but I keep it contained by working on the next novel - much easier this time round, although it's still early days for this one. Every so often, I pinch myself, but it will seem more real when the covers are ready - I can't wait! xxx

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  11. Oh wow how exciting! Enjoy the launch. Congrats and good luck. x

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  12. Congratulations, Joanna. I'm so pleased. xx

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