So here’s something new – my first ever relaunch.
A Home in the Sun was my first published book, back in 2005. Then, it was called Uphill All the Way and went out with an independent publisher called Transita, the fiction arm of How-to Books. It was incredibly exciting. It was launched at the London Book Fair and I have a copy signed by everyone on the stand that day. It went into large print and audio and launched my career as a novelist.
Uphill All the Way had a lifetime of four years with that publisher before going out of print. As readers still asked after it, I put it out as a self-published ebook for several years thereafter, under a new cover that a friend’s daughter kindly designed for me.
Time went by. I published other books with other publishers and, one day, I was talking about backlist titles with my lovely agent, Juliet. She said, ‘I wonder whether Avon might be interested in relaunching Uphill?’ They were! In fact, they leapt at the chance. We’d published eight or nine books together by then and they’ve made me a Sunday Times bestseller and taken me to #1 on UK Kindle and top 100 in the US. They were happy to give readers another chance to follow Judith’s journey from Malta to Northamptonshire and back again.
Preparation was an experience. People have often asked me how I feel I’ve developed as a writer over the years and my stock reply has been, ‘I’d like to think I’ve developed and improved but it’s hard to judge your own work.’ Well … I was wrong. Faced with rereading something I wrote fifteen-or-so years earlier, I could suddenly see that there was quite a lot of work to be done.
The story is just the same. Judith’s living a happy life in Malta with her younger lover when he has an accident that changes everything. She returns to the UK and tries to find her feet in her old life, realising how much her mum’s missed her and what a scrape her sister’s got into. She finds that her beloved stepson Kieran is facing heartbreak and her ex-husband Tom has not improved while she’s been living in the sun. She also has to evict the tenant in her house, Adam, who she crushed on at school, and she somehow ends up working for him instead.
So what have I changed? I’ve made a flashback into a prologue and I have added a lot more emotional detail and generally aligned the book with my current writing capabilities. That’s it, really. I always liked the story. I still like it. According to NetGalley readers, a lot of other people like it, too. And I hope you do!