A cover reveal in the time of Covid19

Yesterday Another Us had its cover reveal and a very strange affair it was too. People were lovely – bloggers and authors and publisher and agents and friends and strangers all generously retweeting and tweeting on Twitter and saying lovely things about my book.

I’m grateful.

I really am.

And I love the cover. It’s bright and upbeat and on point and I’m very happy with it and very grateful to my designer.

Here it is if you haven’t seen if yet.

Another Us_wide (1)

I love how it has the whole family I’ve created on it  … and the little picture on the wall. So cute.

But … it all feels wrong, doesn’t it?

So wrong.

Wrong to be revealing my cover and promoting my book and asking people to pre-order it when all …. this …. is happening.  It just seems trivial and demanding and an imposition on everyone’s energy when they have so much to worry about at the moment.

So … my book will wait.

I have written this post and pinned a tweet to my profile and now I will let it be.

It;s time to focus on my parents who in lockdown in their care home and my 92 year old uncle who is in total isolation up in London and my lovely children are confined to the house, their lives and education in temporary limbo. Time to focus on the things and people that really matter.

Sending love and brightness to all of you  …. see you on the other side xx

 

 

 

 

 

Retreat … and advance.

I’m just back from a fantastic writing retreat.

Never mind city breaks, or spa weekends  – lovely as they both are. For me, a few days holed up in the countryside with other writers is where I best recharge my batteries and come back ready to do battle in all areas of my life. There’s just something about cutting myself off from the outside world and barricading myself away with likeminded souls that really works for me. It’s not even that I write screeds and screeds – although I’m pleased with how I pushed my current WIP on this time. It’s that I come back full of ideas and enthusiasm and optimism and have nurtured old friendships and made new friends – including lovely ladies I have known on Twitter but never met in real life.

The retreat was in a gorgeous old house called The Throne in Weobley and was organised by my friends Jane and Moira from The Place To Write.

Weobley three

Honestly, do go on one of their retreats if you can. Their homecooked food is wonderful, there is tea and cake on tap and look what I discovered on my door when I arrived – along with a bag of my favourite chocolates!

weobley four

Yes, I don’t have my own book cover yet, so they invented one for me. I rather like it!

The workshops were run by Isabel Costello and were on inspiration and motivation and gave plenty of food for thought. Everyone got stuck in and everyone was very honest and generous with their contributions, so I learned loads. Here were all are hard at work – we look very serious here, but rest assured that there were lots of laughs too.

Weobley twoWeobley one

I left with lots of insights on how to make my writing life more creative and productive, whilst boosting my resilience to the inevitable set-backs. It was brilliant.

Many thanks to Jane and Moira and Isabel and everyone else for making the time there so special. And a special thanks to the people of Weobley who had not been panic-buying toilet paper so I was able to buy a packet to take back to my home town where the shelves have been denuded!!

So here I am back at home again, refreshed and recharged and ready to take on the world.

Happy days xxx

My book is available for pre-order!!

Another milestone moment!!

Twitter is full of writers announcing that their books are available for pre-order and I’m ashamed to say that in the past I’ve always been a bit dismissive. What’s the big deal? And what’s the point in buying something that you won’t be able to read for a couple of months anyway. If it’s an e-book, it’s not as if it’s going to go anywhere, is it? They’re not exactly going to run out!

But, now it’s my turn, it feels huge! HUGE!

My book, my baby, is ‘out there’.

This is actually happening!!

Of course, I know it’s happening anyway. I’m knee deep in edits (eek), writing stuff for magazines (how thrilling is that?!) and asking writers I admire if they’d like an ARC (hoe scary is that?!) It’s all encompassing and absolutely brilliant.

But now it’s ‘out there’. You can actually part with your hard-earned cash and pre-order it!

To be honest. I’m jumping the gun a bit. I don’t have a cover yet. I don’t even have an Amazon author page. I didn’t even know the book had been put on Amazon and the way that came around was a bit surreal. I’d tweeted about The Fear ( bad reviews, no reviews etc etc) and a lovely lady from the States suddenly tweeted ‘I’ve pre-ordered your book.’ So my first (probably) sale was international. Am international-selling author (*pinches self*)

Anyway, thank you all for your excitement, your tweets, your messages, your flowers, your love. Thank you for being on this journey with me.

Here’s the link:

 

 

 

(There must be a more elegant way of doing that but if you click on the bottom left corner it seems to work and you don’t have to buy it! )

And now I’ll go away and shut up until I have a cover!

XX

Saying goodbye …

Tomorrow I will pull myself together and get on with doing life with a smile on my face.

But today I am going to acknowledge my feelings, to allow myself to be sad … to say goodbye.

I’m talking about leaving the European Union, of course –  about Brexit. I have absolutely nothing new or of import to say on the matter but – hell – this is my little corner of the internet and so maybe that doesn’t matter. Either way, it feels important to acknowledge it, me  … us.

I was a Remainer.

I signed the petitions, joined the marches, tweeted and retweeted and, as we navigated all the twists and turns, hoped against hope that we wouldn’t leave. I was brought up to believe that – bendy bananas or not – being part of a union which could help prevent the horrors of a third world war was only a good thing and that if we want things changing, it’s best to do so from the inside. I still believe in the European project. I accept we have to leave as it was the will of the people, but I don’t want to leave. I hope our children will make a different choice in the future.

I’m also British

When we lived in the States I would say I was from ‘the UK’ with genuine pride. I love England and Great Britain as much as the next person.  My husband says I’m soppily patriotic – arranging a street party for the royal wedding, taking our daughter up to London for the Jubilees. Like everyone else, I want the best for our country and the people – all the people – who live here.

So it really really pisses me off to find myself branded a ‘traitor’ for having voted remain. And I hope that from tomorrow we do all genuinely start to pull together and move forward.

For all our sakes.

 

 

 

I have a publishing deal!

And just like that, I have a publishing deal!

My debut novel, Another Us, is going to be published by Canelo on May 14th!

Gosh, it feels good to type that. I am very, very happy

Of course, it isn’t ‘just like that’ at all. Anyone who has even a passing knowledge of, or interest in, the publishing process knows that things happen very, very slowly, and unless you are extremely lucky there are twists and turns and setbacks a plenty along the way. I’ve had a couple of those, but, at the end of the day, my debut novel  – the first novel I’ve ever written – is going on to be published on May 14th (did I mention the date?!)

How lucky am I?!

This was part of a blog which went up on Canelo’s website yesterday (I’ve tried but I’m either too dim, too tired or too excited to work out how to link it here):

What do you do when your marriage starts to fall apart when you need it most? In Another Us, when Emma and Daniel’s son is diagnosed with autism it answers a lot of their questions. But it also raises one big one: can they beat the statistic that says 80% of marriages with an autistic child break down?

Emily Bedford says: ‘Kirsten is a wonderful author who brings compassion, humour and warmth to a story that challenges our conceptions of what a ‘typical’ family looks like. I’m absolutely thrilled to be working with her on Another Us – it’s a beautifully compelling story that will make you laugh one instant and bring a tear to your eye the next, and I cannot wait for everyone to experience this rich and real novel.’

Thank you, Canelo and especially Emily Bedford, thank you to Felicity, my wonderful agent, and thank you to all of you who have supported and cheered me on along the way.

Happy days

xx

 

The Deal That Never Was.

I was so close.

So damn, damn close.

So close I could smell it, breathe it …. believe it.

An unsigned contract from a top publisher in my hot little hand, copy deadline next January, first hardback out 2020. I was researching, writing …. loving it.

And then … it all fell away. Up the ladder, and down that sneaky snake that lurks around square 98 to catch the unwary. Right back to the foothills. Strong temptation to throw the whole damn board across the room and never write again.

There was a third party involved, you see.  They had a contract with the publisher too,  nothing to do with me but if that fell through, the whole deal was off. And, at the eleventh hour, it did. And so it was.

My agent has been brilliant.  The publishers have been lovely. Under no legal obligation to do so, they’ve paid me for the work I’ve done to date. It’s a source of much mirth in my family that the first money I’ve earned from writing …. is to stop writing.  A ‘kill’ fee. Even I can see the irony, the humour in that.

So there we go. Up and down and round and about we go. No one ever said it would be easy. But, now the sting’s subsided and new opportunities are opening up …. oh, the thrill of this totally unpredictable scary, frustrating, maddening, totally exhilarating magical mystery ride …

Back to the laptop.

x

 

 

Day 19 Without Twitter.

So, I might have cheated a little.

Just the tiniest bit.

A few days ago we were at the airport when my daughter announced she had forgotten her anti-sickness mediciation. And, boy, does my daughter get sick on flights! A quick whip round the stores and, whilst I could have had giant Toblerones and perfume and even haggis a plenty, there were absolutely no travel sickness pills. Anywhere. Even Boots came up short. Stress levels rising, I reached for my phone, re-activated Twitter and tweeted the airport help people Cue one very nice DM conversation with Laura who confirmed my fears. No anti-sickness medication at all once you’re past security. (In the end we plumped for some wrist bands with a bead in them which apparently presses on an acupuncture point and, to be fair, daughter was absolutely fine. She even polished off half a bag of chocolate fingers on the flight with no ill-effects. I ate the other half.)

It felt weird to be back on Twitter. At first I was perturbed that the act of deactivating my account seemed to have deleted all the 3,000 odd people that I follow and who follow me. I sat in the Airport Costa feeling – frankly – a bit anxious, but after about 20 minutes, they all miraculously reappeared. Then it began to feel a little excited. This was all a bit illicit. I was back!! And I couldn’t help it. I twitted a jaunty little ‘just poking my head around the door to say hello’ type of message and sat back to await the replies. The ‘we’ve missed yous’, the ‘have you been somewhere’s,’ even the ‘get off Twitter you useless lump – call this a month?’

There was nothing. Absolutely zilch, zero, nada. I refreshed a few times. Nope. Not a flutter. After about twenty minutes, some kind soul said ‘welcome to twitter’ and someone else tried to sell me their book on getting the most out of social media.

So I slunk away again.

That’ll teach me!!

xx

 

 

 

 

Day 10? Without Twitter.

Oops – I haven’t been very good about keeping up to date with this blog, have I?

Which is mainly because …. I haven’t been thinking about Twitter very much at all.

Oh sure, there have been many times I’ve gone to log on …. there’s been an election, don’t you know? … but the urge has passed almost as quickly as it has come. It’s the funny things I miss; there was a BBC article about the fact that #hotsoundguy was trending after a fit bloke was filmed setting up Theresa May’s lectern. I was dying to go online and to look at the banter and to tweet about how appallingly sexist it all is. And to see the #dogsatpollingbooths thread. And to see the fall out about Theresa May leaving and the gallery of hopefuls jostling to take her place. I bet there were some really choice tweets.

I suppose one good thing is that instead of tweeting about the election, I signed up to be a polling clerk and spent from 6.30am to 10.30pm on Thursday in a freezing, draughty church hall, handing out ballot papers to voters. It was actually enormous fun – not least because I was allocated a polling station about ten minutes walk from where I live and I knew many of the voters. The banter matched anything on Twitter.

One thing I do very genuinely miss about Twitter is helping dear friends to celebrate their publication days. Last Thursday saw not one, but two, Sister Scribes celebrating book launches and I was very sorry not be able to tweet and RT them from the rooftops.  I hope the real life gifts went some way to make up for it and many congratulations to Susanna Bavin with A Respectable Woman and Kitty Wilson with Summer Love from the Cornish Village School series. Love you both and I hope they both fly!!

Day Seven Without Twitter.

‘I don’t understand why you would blog about not being on Twitter’, said a friend this weekend.

At the time, I’d had a couple of shandies and didn’t think anything of it.

Later, when I’d sobered up, I wondered what she’d meant. She didn’t understand why it would be difficult to leave Twitter for a month? She didn’t get why I would choose to write about my experiences? Or why I would choose to share the links on Facebook?

I don’t know.

Maybe you have to both be on Twitter and suspect that you’re spending far more much time and energy on it to understand the first. It’s seductive, it sucks you in,  leads you down rabbit holes and before you know it, an hour or more has gone by.  Or maybe it’s having a slightly addictive personality … in the same way that I can’t leave a bar of chocolate unfinished. I don’t drink, smoke or gamble, but maybe I am a Twitter-Addict. It can’t just be me … or maybe it is.

Anyone else feel the same?

As for the second, I’m a writer and I like to write about things. I like to write about my thoughts and experiences and if I can occasionally entertain, inform or educate, then so  much the better. Some things may resonate with people, most probably won’t. I don’t expect anyone to read everything  – or even anything – I write. If you don’t fancy it, don’t read it.

Back to the withdrawal symptoms … and I’m pleased to say the weekend was a doozie. I was out and about –  on the archaeological dig, at a party, at a family do  – and barely gave Twitter a thought. In fact, it was so far from my mind that I forgot to post. Today the urge came across me at the most random moment.  I saw that poor Nigel Farage had a milkshake thrown over him and I really wanted to see what Twitter made of that.

How random is that?!

Anyway, instead of giving in to my urge to read about Brexit, I signed up to work in a polling station on Thursday.

Onwards and upwards and thanks for reading!