I had a lovely time over Christmas and New year when I spent time with
all my family and after it “If You were The only Girl “ was published on
17th January and sold a great many copies on both paperback and in Kindles
sales on Amazon and I was in the best sellers for some weeks. I was the due
to travel to Birmingham, the week after publication to give talks in four
Birmingham Libraries. Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas and the
plans had to be deferred for three weeks. In the meantime and again to help
with promotion, My Weekly and People’s Friend asked for a short story
from me. First though I had a telephone interview, which was to appear in
People Friend the week before the story. They wanted a frothy, funny
romance for their bumper spring edition out around Valentine’s Day and
that story was called “The Girl Can’t Help It”. My Weekly, on the other
hand, wanted a romance written in my period so my story for them was a
romance, set in the war, and titled, “We’ll Meet Again”.
Before the suspended promotional tour took place, I had my launch with
my writer friends, the North Wales Novelistas. And here is me cutting
the delicious chocolate cake which was washed down with
champagne. Can’t be bad.
We set off for Birmingham on Wednesday 13th Feb . On
Thursday I spoke at Ward End library in the morning and Hall
Green in the afternoon and from there we drove to the back to
back houses the National trust have preserved in Hurst Street near
the city centre because the Sunday Mercury wanted to do a feature
on there as I use them as a backdrop in many of my books.. Here
I am in the entry . When people lived in these type of houses
an address such as No 6 the back of No36 meant that No 36
on the street would have No 6 backed on to it and that house
would open on to the yard which would be accessed by the
entry . Another shows me inside one of the poky, little houses
and in the other I was standing in the yard. The Hurst Street
project is well worth a visit for it shows a little of how people
lived then and that is a valuable part of history of the city.
Harper Collins had booked us a meal at Jamie’s Italian that evening.. It’s not far from St Martins in the Bull Ring and the city looks lovely there.. The food was wonderful, but I was glad to reach the hotel that night because I was feeling really tired and I’m sure I was asleep as soon as my head touched the pillow.
The following day at 10 am I was at Yardley Wood Library and that afternoon at Frankley. Generally I was impressed by all the Birmingham libraries. There were light and airy and generally pleasant places to visit, with bright murals on the walls of the children’s sections and banks of computers everywhere. The talks were all well attended and plenty of questions were asked. I really enjoy giving talks because it gives me a chance to meet my readers.
As you can see I had quite a hectic early spring and though I was writing the next book, I was taking my time thinking that first I would be asked to edit and then promote one of the old out of print books I wrote for Headline, which Harper Collins have bought and are re-issuing, because that is what they told me would happen and though I knew there had been problems with the contract, which had to be amended twice and had to re-sign, I did not see that that would delay the release of the book and no one from Harper Collins intimated that it would.
However, I went to the RNA Summer Party in May and as usual Kate, my editor, took me out to lunch the following day when she asked me how the book was coming on. I said I was nearly half way through but there was no rush because I had to do the back listed copy first. Then she said that they had changed their minds and the first back listed copy would be not be out until 2014.
I was astounded for it was the first time I had heard that and it meant I had to give the new book in as soon as possible. However I had booked to go to Marrakesh with my son and his family in the have term break and I was also booked to give two talks in the West Midlands In June.
I really enjoyed Marrakesh because it was such a fascinating city and such a different culture from ours and as here were six of us going around together a lot of the time we found it was cheaper and far more pleasant to use a horse and cart rather than two taxis and so went most places using them. The second picture shows Denis and I at the fabulous cactus garden and the last picture, the square in Marrakesh with the souks in the background.
I hadn’t long at home before I was in the Midlands for the talks and I
always get a really good turn out as that is where I came from and where
my books are set. I have been to the libraries in Walsall many times and
always enjoy myself and this visit was the same, but this was the first
time I had been asked to go to Smethwick. I shouldn’t want it to be my
last for the staff were so lovely and friendly and the people who came to
the talk so complimentary about my books and we ended up singing ‘If
You Were The Only Girl’ with great gusto, which surprised the other
people in the library a great deal.
These delicious looking home made cakes probably helped the event be
successful as well, but so many people wanted to talk to me afterwards
and bought so many copies of my books, they wanted signing that I only
got a cup of lukewarm coffee and a biscuit. But I’m not complaining,
because I had a ball.
I really had to put my nose to the grindstone then and I did apart from
another foray into London for the Harper Collins Party in early July.
My agent negotiated with my editor that because of the
misunderstanding I should deliver the book in September instead of
August and they put the book ‘s publication date back until March. That did mean I had to virtually ignore one of the best summers we’ve had in ages and it also meant neither my eldest daughter nor my son could come and visit and I spent far less time than I would have liked with my youngest granddaughter
After I sent in the manuscript there was silence for over a month while they tried to find an editor to do the copy edits as the one I usually use was already doing someone else’s. However, with my work over for a while I was able to enjoy the RNA winter party in mid-November. Kate told me my manuscript was coming back on 28th November then I had to work on the suggestions and corrections the copy editor had made.
I was in London on that date at ‘Warm Up for
Winter ‘, which is just for certain of Harper Collin’s
authors and when Kate and went to lunch, just before
I caught my train the following day, I told there had
been nothing from the editor and I was concerned
because ideally Kate wanted it back with my
corrections done before Christmas. Well I waited
and waited and eventually, almost in the middle of
December, they came . They couldn’t be done before
Christmas because there wasn’t time and again the
book was put back to May. The corrected manuscript had to be delivered back by the first week in January, but as the new copy editor knew nothing about me or the type of thing I write, she wanted me to change the whole essence of the book and I had a nightmare dealing with it all. I knew to get it done I would have to work all through Christmas and New Year. We had family up as always, but we both thought we had missed out on their company enough through the summer and wanted them there, so I worked like a Trojan, getting up really early and working on into the night and stealing away as often as I could and despite everything I delivered the corrected manuscript on time.
Thankfully, the second copy edits, which I completed in a week,
were done by someone who knows me, and has worked on my
book for years and at this moment, the proofs are done too
and I feel justified in having a week in Lanzerote at the
beginning of April. This is what the book will look like when
it comes out in May. Hope you like it.
All the very best to you – Anne xx