Paperback writers!

I promise this will be the last blog about the book for a while! Yesterday we launched the paperback version and, I am delighted to say, sales have been really good. Julia and I both have a touch of writers’ cramp this morning after signing hundreds of copies of the book last night!

We had a fun evening combining my birthday with a mini book launch party with partner in crime, Julia and her other half and members of my family all present. My daughter Emily produced a lovely sponge cake tribute to the book as had my stepmother who made a chocolate “inside” of the book! So we simply had to tuck into both to ensure they were as lovely as they looked! And they were…

I know it’s early days, but interestingly Kindle sales are almost double those of the paperback… but then the Kindle version has been around a few days longer, so we will watch with interest to see how this pans out over the next few months and report back!

I was so thrilled to wake up this morning to find we were number 1 in the British Detective section of Amazon and 152 on their bestsellers list …. which bearing in mind we were something like 56,000 only a week or so ago … is amazing!

Thank you to those of you that have read the Kindle version and seem to really like our characters and the idea that this will be the first in a series. It is very strange after tapping away on our various efforts over the years, usually in solitary isolation, to finally have your work ‘out there’ and being read by people! Julia has already been stopped in the street (admittedly, she lives in a village!) and asked by an enthusiastic reader of ‘A Sticky End’ where she got her inspiration from. It is also strange sitting here and seeing the paperbacks stacked up, waiting to be posted out today – it’s suddenly all so very ‘real’!

We each have our favourite characters in the book – mine would be Victoria, while Julia is very keen on the Reverend Ruminant – but it would be fun to know which ones you enjoyed most – no plot spoilers please!

 

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A behind the scenes look at printing our book…

Proud author!I am bouncing around like Tigger at the moment waiting to take delivery of the paperback version of our book ‘A Sticky End’!

You can imagine how I reacted when, last week, our printer said, “Would you like to come and see it on the press?” I was out the door and sitting in the car before poor Richard had even had time to pick up the car keys! My writing partner, Julia Wherrell, was away and sadly couldn’t make the trip with us.

Maslands, our book printers, are in Tiverton, about an hour up the M5 motorway and Richard, my daughter Emily, and I were soon standing in the print room, boggle eyed and gazing at all the huge printing presses and computer gubbins. Emily said it was … “Just like being on Come Outside with Pippin the dog,” a favourite TV show when she was little!

Watching our lovely colour cover whizzing through the press and stacking up at the end was really gratifying – a dream come true for me to see my novel actually appearing before my eyes.

The cover actually on the press…The work that goes into the print process was really interesting and we were shown around the print works by Andy Jackson, one of the directors, and Ted Moore, who works in the studio, and who laid out the book. Of course, printing today is very different from the old printing press days as everything is generated digitally, but I was still surprised by how ‘big’ a process it still is. After printing, it goes off to be cut and then bound into the cover before arriving on Monday afternoon when you can buy a copy on the website.

Meanwhile… the Kindle copy has already come out! We had to get it loaded up in advance, but didn’t realise people would find it on Amazon quite so quickly. So far, feedback has been very positive and we have sold quite a few copies, so Julia and I are really pleased… if slightly terrified too!

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My first novel is about to be published…!

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this particular blog… as I can begin to tell you about my novel that’s being launched on 23rd September and here’s a sneaky peek at the cover!

Although I’ve published over 40 non–fiction books, this is my first foray into novel writing. It has always been a dream of mine to publish a work of fiction and I can hardly believe the dream is about to come true. 

Entitled ‘A Sticky End’, I have written the book jointly with my hen-pal Julia Wherrell, who lives near me down here in Devon. The novel is based in the fictional village of Swaddlecombe deep in the Devon countryside. Julia and I have had great fun inventing the characters and places that populate our book, although it would be untrue to say it has all been plain sailing…

The idea that writers sit gazing out of the window for inspiration and then knock out a few chapters by tea time is a very long way from the truth – well, it was for us anyway! Writing is actually very hard work and, while writing together has given us the much-needed momentum required to finish the project, (we both have previously unpublished and unfinished books) it also made it quite a complicated process – but in the end, it has worked for us. We also, of course, had to fit in writing alongside our ‘day’ jobs, so it’s been quite a busy time for both of us… and our long-suffering partners!

’A Sticky End’ is a light-hearted murder mystery revolving around a character, Victoria West, who has recently moved to Devon from London. I think there’s quite a bit of both Julia and myself in the novel and it reflects our love of the Devon countryside – and our combined sense of humour! The title is a direct reference to strange goings on at the jam company at the heart of the book.

After inheriting a cottage from her aunt, Victoria leaves her stressful London life behind and moves to the tranquil backwaters of rural Devon. Feeling fragile, but positive after a recent brush with cancer, she is looking forward to an independent, laid-back lifestyle doing all the things townies like her always do in the countryside–keeping chickens, growing veg and, well, chilling out!

But Victoria hadn’t reckoned with the locals of Swaddlecombe. After only a few days in her new home she’s investigating a suspicious death, is a victim of road rage and has a nasty incident with a sheep. And then of course, there’s tall handsome farmer, Albert Moreton…

Well, I hope that’s whetted your appetites! Julia and I have all sorts of plans for book two – and even a whole series of Swaddlecombe mysteries, but we realise that will all depend on how much you like the book and the characters. Fingers crossed that you do and I wonder if you will guess whodunnit?

‘A Sticky End’ will be available on Kindle, priced £3.99 (on Amazon.co.uk) and as a paperback direct from Joanna Sheen Ltd, priced at £6.99. Both products will be available from 23rd September 2013. We will even sign the paperbacks if you fancy a first edition! 

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