AMERICANS OF THE WORLD! ONLY IN AMERICA! AND CANADIANS TOO!
There is a Goodreads giveaway for a proof of my new book, A Place For Us, which is being published in the US & Canada on 2nd June. It’s in hardcover, it looks absolutely gorgeous thanks to the wonderful people at Gallery, and I’m so excited. Please, enter, and good luck.
NB: Giveaway open till 22nd April only so 9 days left!
If you’ve always wanted to peek inside an author’s study and see where they write and what they get up to here’s a video I made for the Periscope app on Twitter (um still don’t understand it, but have the video for it so that’s OK) yesterday showing people round my own study. Hope you enjoy it. It’s 9 mins long as I ramble on but there is a reading from my new book, The Butterfly Summer, at the end. H x x
Sorry that it’s been a while since my last post. I have been busy.
b) finishing new book.
c) doing lots of things for A Place for Us.
If those aren’t good enough excuses, I don’t know what to tell you. The moving was crazy as it was 2 weeks before Christmas, but it was fab to be in before and have a Christmas tree up amidst the boxes. And then A Place for Us was published, which is fantastic, because I’m so thrilled and happy with how well it’s done. It went to No.5 in the Sunday Times bestsellers list! Amazing! And people have been super kind and I am over the moon with the reaction. It has been a great start to the year. THANK YOU if you’ve bought it and I really hope you enjoy / enjoyed it.
Now I am working on my next book, The Butterfly Summer, which is published next year, in Spring. It’s about a shy, Goth, geeky misfit who’s grown up in London believing her father is dead and halfway through the novel discovered she’s inherited a crumbling estate on a forgotten creek in Cornwall. It is Daphne du Maurier crossed with Ballet Shoes – does that sound crazy or amazing? I hope the latter. I am OBSESSED with it like no other book so far.
So last week I had a meeting with my wonderful editor Mari. Mari is amazing and talking to her about the books is always so helpful. I finished The Butterfly Summer three weeks ago, and you might think that’s it, that beyond a bit of editing it’s pretty much done. However I never see typing ‘The End’ as a finished job but more the beginning. I was an editor for ten years, and I know how important editing is: it’s much more than just writing a book that’s finished in terms of a beginning, middle and end. Sometimes, editing the book isn’t that much: taking out one character who doesn’t work, or rewriting a scene where the heroine and hero meet so that it’s more romantic, or changing the pacing… sometimes it’s a lot more than that. This time round I have a lot of work to do on the book, which I knew I would, and strangely I’m not downcast about it. Again, having been an editor, I know how vital it is to listen to other people whose job it is to help you, and not just to stick blindly to your version. I am working on two things now to get the novel right:
1. Pacing / Cutting / Relevant info. You may have heard of the expression Kill Your Darlings – well there’s one I like more when it comes to editing which is: ‘If you have a passage you think particularly fine STRIKE IT OUT!’ brutal but true, often the bits of which you’re most proud (a very long description of a sunset including the word cerulean which you looked up in the dictionary, or a witty exchange between two people with a joke you think is amazing) aren’t doing anything to move the plot along, and in fact distract the reader and slow the tension of the moment. Getting an author to do this in my experience is often hard as they are very proud of their writerly prowess! I have been a big girl I hope and totally agreed that a whole section involving a character in flashback which involves a lot of info about butterflies and Victorian lepidoptery (yup, sounds fascinating doesn’t it?!) must go. It may well crop up as an extra feature online or something if it works, or it may just go into the virtual bin. I have learned through bitter experience that if someone suggests something needs to go it probably shouldn’t be there.
2. Finding the Bliss: this is such a woo woo way of putting it, but most of the work I will have to do on this book I think of as finding the blissful sweet spot of what makes a novel really sing. It’s obvious when an author is in control of their material and when they’re not. If they really know the characters, the landscape both physical and mental, the storyline past and present, if they are absolutely inhabiting the story it is obvious. I am super super obsessed with this book and will do anything to get it right. It is complicated, with various storylines and big reveals about who lived in this house and how Nina, the heroine, is connected to it all. It is all there in my head, and what Mari is brilliant at is drawing it out like Dumbledore draws out Harry Potter’s thoughts with his wand and places them in the Pensieve where you can see them.
I know I am lucky to be edited. I need it. I am annoyed when I read books where I think they’d have been improved by someone being allowed to exercise their red pen. It’s your name on the front of the book for the rest of time and what a shame if you don’t listen to all the advice you can get.
Here’s a photo of my study at the moment with everything to do with the book. There’s a map of the Helford river, where the other part of the book is set, piles of old books on butterflies, a post-it plan, tonnes of photos of crumbling houses, places that have inspired me, and dresses from the 1930s (when some of the action takes place). It can be a bit too much – you can do too much research and not concentrate enough on what’s on the page, instead!
Maps of Cornwall, book plan, photos of creeks and dresses ahoy!
As you can see I am writing this instead of writing the book, bad me, and I’d better get back to it! Please do get in touch to say hi, either here, or on Twitter @HarrietEvans or on my Facebook Page. https://www.facebook.com/harrietevans... Plus I am doing several events over the summer, in Cornwall, Chipping Norton and various other places – more details soon when I get round to it! Be great to see people and say hi back.
Have a lovely day,
Harrie x x
I can’t believe the time has come and that A Place for Us is finally out, in one whole piece, in paperback, in the UK. (Lovely Aus / NZ peeps have had it early and hope you’ve enjoyed it). I am truly so excited about publication because it feels like ages since I signed the deal with Headline and even longer since I heard the first line for the book in my head, like a weird sign, or someone telling me to write the book (Stop. you sound insane. – Ed.) Anyway, I normally don’t like publication week, I get a bit stressed or anxious and think oh I wish the book was better or this or that, but this time I feel really calm and happy. It is because
a) it has been edited so beautifully by my editor Mari
b) it looks shamazingly fantonkitastically awesome thanks to the designer Yeti and the production team at Headline
c) it is January and I am still hungover from Christmas
d) we moved in December. Moving is great because it is so stressful and discombobulating that either you freak out or you go hey, chillax, there’s nothing we can do about this for a while, let’s have a mince pie and watch some more Last Tango in Halifax (not you? Oh well that’s what I did.). Also I have licence to legitimately purchase homeware items from Anthropologie.
I hope that, if you read A Place for Us, you enjoy it. At the very least you will enjoy having such a beautiful object – just wait till Thursday when it’s out and you’ll see what I mean.
THANKS for everyone who’s been in touch so far to say they liked it. If you want to get more in touch (sounds weird but you know what I mean) I’m on the twitters at @HarrietEvans
Still not too late to say it: HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Harrie x x
Those of you who know a little bit about Harriet might know she worked as an editor before she faced up to the dreaded blank page herself. This month she’s returned to her roots to play the part of Guest Editor for Lovereading. With a week to go until the publication of A PLACE FOR US, you might need a new book recommendation in the meantime. Or if you just want to know which novel Harriet thinks should have won every prize going, look no further than this list of favourite reads.
The final instalment of the e-series of A Place For Us is out today! There’s still a secret or two to come out in Part 4. You might just find out what made Martha and David decide Winterfold was the place for them all those years ago! Here’s a small teaser from Harriet about the importance of her setting and home.
All four parts of A Place For Us are available to download on iBookstore as well as here.
Part 3 of A Place for Us is out in the UK today, which is megs lolz exciting. Please lemme know what you thought of it, either by tweeting or on my Facebook page. I am so chuffed so many people have enjoyed it. I love thinking about this book and the Winters and their house, it’s still with me months after I finished it. THANK YOU for sticking with their story and I hope as we get to part 3 that some things become clearer and you keep the love. Emotional.
If you’re a fan of Harriet in Australia and New Zealand, then here’s some great news – you can now buy the full novel!
You’re very lucky, as Harriet’s UK readers are still enjoying the novel as four separate ebook novellas, with the full volume not available until January 2015.
A PLACE FOR US is in all good bookshops and available as an ebook now. Happy reading!
If you haven’t read Part One of A Place For Us yet, here’s a short audio clip to give you a taste of what to expect from this brilliant, emotionally charged and heartwarming novel.
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