Monthly Archives: February 2013
I was invited to visit the studios of Monocle24 yesterday and whizzed to Marylebone (just off Baker Street, where Sherlock Holmes used to hang out [should I say ‘used to’ or will that upset people?]) to spend half-an-hour on air with the lovely Georgina Godwin, presenter.
As it’s nearly St Valentine’s Day we talked about romance and romantic fiction, whether men read it, who buys it for them, whether it’ll get them chatted up on the Tube if they’re reading a book with a pink cover, what we can all learn from Fifty Shades of Grey (!) Why is romantic fiction such a huge seller? Is that likely to change?
Also, what a splendiferous organisation the Romantic Novelists’ Association is and what a fantastic set of shortlists there are for the RoNAs (Romantic Novel Awards) this year. Which is an unsubtle little gloat that I’m on one of them with Dream a Little Dream … Sorry. Ought to be modest and self-effacing and I do try but fail spectacularly …
I also got to choose four romantic music tracks to play during the programme, which felt deliciously Desert Island Discs-ish. So I chose:
Stardust, by Nat King Cole, in memory of my dad. When we lived in Malta he gained a promotion and bought a record player. Each member of the family was allowed one record to go with it and he picked an Nat King Cole album, with Stardust amongst his favourites.
Substitute, by Frank Turner. His lyrics are just so amazing. Often his songs are political or contemporary-life observations but this song is about how music is his substitute for love and it’s so wistful that it clutches my heart.
Letter to Hermione, David Bowie, because I never fell out of love with his early stuff and this is such a romantic song. All about lost love. Ahhh.
Dream a Little Dream, by the Mamas and the Papas, not just in shameless self-promotion but because it’s a fabulous song and it celebrates a memorable Romaniacs kitchen party at the RNA conference last year – the results of which could be seen on YouTube but the clip seems to have disappeared, now.
It was a great afternoon. And one of the most remarkable things about the Monocle 24 offices? Their loo seat is heated. Seriously! All loo seats ought to be made this way, especially when you come in from a wet winter afternoon. I really want one of my own now. I’m putting it on my Christmas list .
I didn’t try the douche thingy, though. No. Tried it before. Didn’t like it.
I often send authors ‘Happy Publication day!’ messages on Facebook, Twitter or via forums. Until last week I’d done it without thinking, because a publication day is a day for celebration for me so I assumed it was for them.
I like publication day more than I like a birthday! On publication day for Dream a Little Dream I even went out for lunch with my gym bunny friends and we toasted the success of the book. I received champagne from Choc Lit, my publisher, and, just for good measure, went out to eat in the evening with family, too. (And I didn’t get a year added to my age – hence enjoying it more than a birthday.)
It was a surprise, then, when a successful author friend said that she felt anxious about publication day, about how the book would do and whether she’d repay her publisher’s faith in her. So I asked one or two others how they feel.
For me it’s just an ordinary day. The books have usually been on sale for a couple of weeks before anyway, and the Americans will already have a blog tour going. I’m not the sort of person who does big days anyway. My ‘whoop de do’ moment on a new novel is when I’ve handed it in and received glowing feedback from my agent and editor. (Best case scenario!) It’s the best feeling in the world at that moment, especially when they tell you the bits they like best!
Thinking about it the word mortification Is paramount. My first book launch was in the House of Lords. Publicity were beside themselves with happiness since it was the first time a book launch had been permitted there. The car which had been arranged to pick us up didn’t turn up and we were very late. My publishers weren’t allowed in until the Lord sponsoring us turned up and he was late too. I did not witness the scene between the porters and said publisher but I was told handbags swung. Said, Lord, trimming his beard with an electric strimmer sort of thing got carried away and cut a path through his hair; there was nothing for it to strim the lot making him look like an ex-con from the Scrubs! One photographer turned up and one journalist who didn’t speak to me but the canapes and champagne were lovely.
The next day the fact that the launch was of a commercial novel in such a hallowed place was duly reported and disapproved of, my book was not mentioned by name.
My next serial starts in Woman’s Weekly on Wednesday and I shall run around Waitrose beaming joyfully and thrusting it underneath people’s noses!
So, mixed associations! I’m just glad I’m one of those who enjoy it and I’ll continue to ensure that I do by doing very little work on that day and arranging lunches and dinners.