S.J. Watson's Blog, page 3

January 2, 2012

The paperback of Before I Go to Sleep is out today in the UK! Watch this space for some exciting news![image error]
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Published on January 02, 2012 02:20 • 58 views

December 20, 2011

Before I Go to Sleep will be published in Italian on January 3rd, a day after the UK paperback publication. The jacket is here...[image error]
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Published on December 20, 2011 10:09 • 30 views

December 19, 2011

I'm incredibly happy that Before I Go to Sleep has been mentioned in lots of the 'books for Christmas' and  'books of the year' lists that invariably pop up around this time of year. In particular, it's been featured in The Independent, the Sunday Express, The Sunday Times, The Observer and Amazon's lists.

What's also particularly nice for me is when writers choose it as a recommended read. Howard Blum has chosen the book in this list, and Lee Child has given it a fantastic mention in the Wall Street Journal.

Truly I am honoured and delighted!

Now, to get back to Christmas shopping...[image error]
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Published on December 19, 2011 09:20 • 28 views

December 7, 2011

I'll be in Birmingham today (December 7th) to help launch an exciting project! Before I Go to Sleep has been chosen as the Birmingham Big City Read!

From now until February 2012, Birmingham Libraries are setting free 1,000 copies of the book  for people to read, review and pass on to a friend.

Take a look here on "Reading Groups for Everyone" - where  readers, reading groups and book clubs can be  part of the project by posting their reviews of the book. They've put together lots of information, which will hopefully inspire you to get reading and to get reviewing.[image error]
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Published on December 07, 2011 00:50 • 39 views

December 6, 2011

 I just thought I'd share a few photos. Here I am being filmed for the Galaxy Book Awards, at this point still unaware that Before I Go to Sleep had won Crime/Thriller of the year. A pretty bizarre experience, particularly as we then headed off to the streets of Shoreditch to film some outdoor shots. 'Just look at the trees,' they said. 'As if seeking inspiration.' I did my best...

Actually it was much less painful than I might have imagined, thanks mostly to the great team who were filming me. I used to hate having my photo taken, and liked being on 'video' (does anyone still call it that?) even less. So this is a photo I never dreamt I'd see...

And then here's me in Hampstead Waterstones with Decca Aitkenhead. We did an interview together in front of a small audience of Grazia readers, for their book club. It was a huge amount of fun.

 And here I am at the literary salon in Shoretich, hosted by the wonderful Damian Barr. I was sharing the stage with Liz Hoggard and DBC Pierre, who read a new story, so was pretty nervous. But it was a great crowd and I enjoyed the evening hugely. As you can see in the particularly flattering photo on the left.

So that's (some of) what I've been up to...

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Published on December 06, 2011 02:36 • 25 views

November 29, 2011

So, someone has just posted this comment on the blog. Anonymously, of course. I'm really intrigued by this point of view.

"Anonymous said...

The content of the book is sexist, homophobic, ableist and racist.

To you and whoever is like you goes the following.


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Published on November 29, 2011 15:22 • 113 views

November 25, 2011

So, it's been a busy time lately. Things are gearing up for the UK publication of Before I Go to Sleep (or #B4IGTS, as we've christened it for the purposes of Twitter. BIGTS looked a little bit too much like BIGOTS for comfort, and "B4" has a nice, hip, urban feel, doesn't it? It almost feels like it could be a Prince song, now...) which is set for January 5th, 2012. I've not had to do that much, to be honest, but I know Transworld have been very busy - making sure that the book looks stunning (it will!) and everything is set for release. I can't say too much (anything, in fact), but there are exciting things on the horizon.

What else? I did an event for Grazia in Hampstead, at the Waterstones there. I really enjoyed it, and got to meet, and be interviewed by, Decca Aitkenhead, who was fantastic. It was a lovely audience, too, and we got to chatting about the book, about my writing tips (which seemed to boil down to 'Write badly if necessary, every day') and how I'd come to the concept of Before I Go to Sleep. Afterwards, in the pub, I learned all about TOWIE, which I hadn't realised existed...

Then, last weekend, I was at Crossing Border in Den Haag (Saturday) and Antwerp (Sunday). Such a great festival - a really eclectic mix of music, and it was lovely that the authors were sharing the same stage as the musicians, rather than being in a different venue, as seems to happen at some festivals that purport to mix music and literature. It was a busy time for me, but thoroughly enjoyable. Amongst others, I caught Gavin Friday's set, and also Low Anthem, and I particularly enjoyed sitting at the back of the bus that took us all from Holland to Belgium with the musicians, listening to them talking about snare sounds and drugs.

Listening to people talk about drugs. How rock and roll am I?

Anyway, no sooner was I back from Crossing Border than it was time for Polari. I was particularly looking forward to this as it was the fourth birthday, and also the announcement of the winner of the Polari Prize. Another great evening, with a fantastic, enthusiastic crowd, and I was blown away by the other writers and performers, in particular Neil Alexander's poetry and Karen Mcleod who read a hilarious story about falling in, and then out of, love with Julie Andrews.[image error]
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Published on November 25, 2011 01:19 • 79 views

November 20, 2011

So, I'm here at Crossing Border festival in Den Haag, and having a great time. I just thought you might like to see the rather interesting way they have of making sure that books are constantly available to festival goers. Voor ik ga Slapen, anyone. Not as tasty as an ice-cream, but hopefully just as nourishing...

So now it's off to Antwerp, for Crossing Border part 2. I'll be onstage at 20.45...

More soon.[image error]
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Published on November 20, 2011 00:20 • 44 views

November 17, 2011

The author is writing his blog when the phone rings. He doesn't mind the interruption - plus it's an international number - so he answers it.


   'Mr Watson?' A woman's voice. American. He doesn't recognise it.


   The caller introduces herself. It's a journalist, the one who interviewed him over the phone a few days ago. She explains she just wants to check a few facts.

    Fact checking. He's heard of this. In an increasingly litigious country it's become ubiquitous. He imagines she's written her piece and now, before it goes to the printers, she wants to make sure there's nothing in it that might cause him to want to sue her. Not that he'd do that anyway, he thinks, but she has to do what she has to do.

   'OK,' he says.

   She clears her throat; clearly she has a list. 'Right. You're thirty-nine?'

   'I'm forty,' he says.

   'You were born in London?'

   'I was born in the West Midlands. I live in London.'

   'OK. You wrote Before I Go to Sleep after going part time in your job?'

   'I did.'

   'You worked for the National Health Service?'

   'Yes,' he says. 'Technically I still do. But yes, that's right.'

   'Good. You didn't realise the book was a thriller at first?'

   'I suppose not,' he says. 'I just wrote the book I wanted to write and it wasn't until someone else read it and pointed it out to me that I realised that I'd written a thriller.'

   'OK. And it's the first novel you've had published.'


   'But you've written all your life?'

   He thinks back to the original interview. He remembers telling her how he used to smuggle books under the bedclothes, along with a torch, and he can't remember a time when he didn't want to write them. He'd explained how he'd dabbled in science fiction and fantasy as a child and even tried poetry as a teenager, 'Though thinly disguised as song lyrics,' he'd said. 'I wanted to be a rock star.' He remembers telling her he'd started novels in the past, but Before I Go to Sleep was the first he'd finished and been totally happy with.

   He smiles, and says, 'Yes. Yes I have.'

   'Any you told me you'd started novels before, but in the past you've always given up?'


   'So, how many novels have you written before?'

   'Well,' he says. 'A few. But none that I've finished. Or none that I've been happy with, at least. Certainly none that I'd show anybody else. So Before I Go to Sleep is my first novel.'

   'But how many have you started, before this one?'

   He begins to get nervous. 'Well, I can't really put a number to it. With some I got a fair way in, but with others I didn't write much more than the title and a few hundred words, or maybe a couple of thousand. You can't really call those novels...'

   'So, how many, would you say? Five?'

  'No, probably more than that...'

   'OK. Ten?'

   'No, I'd say maybe more. But don't forget that with most of them I didn't get any further than--'


   'No. Less'


   He can hear she's getting exasperated. He doesn't want that - he'd really enjoyed talking to her during the interview and she'd liked his book and said some flattering things. He wants her to be happy. He wants to give her what she needs.

   'OK,' he says. 'Twenty. About twenty.'

   She asks a few more questions, then they talk for a while. She says she'll write the piece up, and it'll go in the newspaper soon. They say goodbye, and a few days later it's there. The interview, in the Wall Street Journal. And in it, the journalist has written that the author has started 'roughly' twenty other novels before the one he got published. In black and white it looks a little bit too concrete, as if Before I Go to Sleep is his twenty-first novel, and he has twenty manuscripts mouldering in a bottom drawer somewhere. He wishes he'd resisted the urge to give her a number. Perhaps he should just have said 'A few', and made sure she understood that most of them were only a few lines here and there, or a character sketch, or even just a title, and it's misleading to refer to them as novels.

   But it doesn't matter, he thinks. And it doesn't, really, except that now other journalists have read that interview, and they've quoted it, and quietly dropped the word 'roughly'. And he doesn't want to sound like he's complaining, because it's lovely that people are even interested in what he's written before, and the interview was in The Wall St Journal, for goodness sake, and it was great, and the journalist was amazing and made the interview experience an absolute joy. But everywhere he goes people are asking if Before I Go to Sleep is his twenty-first novel. And it isn't. It's his first, and all the other writing he's done was just him serving his apprenticeship, and he wishes there was a way he could make that clear.

   So he decides to write about it in his blog.


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Published on November 17, 2011 04:04 • 40 views

November 9, 2011

Dangerous Women: The Guide to Modern LifeWell, what a week! On Tuesday I had a fantastic time helping my wonderful agent launch the book she's co-written, Dangerous Women: The Guide to Modern Life. It's a really brilliant book, full of great advice to help people live as well as they dare (and, really, who would want to live any other way?). My contribution towards launching the book was mostly in assisting in the drinking of champagne, eating of canapés (and the most delicious chocolate cake) and chatting to wonderful and fascinating people, but I think I carried out my end of the bargain fully (at least, the sore head I had on Wednesday would suggest I did).

[image error]I  recovered enough, though, to go and see Throwing Muses. This was a personal highlight for me - I've been a fan of the band since their 1989 album, Hunkpapa - and have followed singer/songwriter/guitarist Kristin Hersh's career (both musical, and literary) ever since. The Muses never really broke up, but they ran out of money (Hersh has never been one to compromise in order to fit into the music industry's idea of what might sell records, and her thoughts on sustainability of music in the current climate make interesting reading) and so recording and touring have been intermittent. This was the first time I've seen them, therefore, since 2003, and it was a fantastic show, a world away from XFactor (which, this year, I have totally avoided and feel all the better for doing so). Anyone interested could do worse than look here, where they will also find information about Hersh's other band (and the only band I love more than Throwing Muses), 50FootWave. Incidentally, by clicking that last link, you can download everything 50FootWave have ever recorded, for free, and with their blessing. I told you Hersh's thoughts on sustainability were interesting...

Then, on Friday, it was the Galaxy National Book Awards. Before I Go to Sleep had been nominated for three (best debut, along with Stephen Kelman's Pigeon English and A.D. Miller's Snowdrops, both of which were Booker Shortlisted, best Audiobook, and best Crime and Thriller Novel, alongside Martina Cole, Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, Robert Harris and C J Sansom). I wasn't really sure what to expect and was delighted to have even been shortlisted with such amazing writers and fantastic novels. It was a lavish ceremony and I got the chance to catch up with some people, and to say hello to some new people (in particular it was great to meet Emma Donoghue, whose novel, Room, I loved, but there were lots of other people I met too), and to my very great surprise and delight Before I Go to Sleep won the best Crime/Thriller Novel!

 Here you can see me, my prize just out of shot, with Emma Donoghue and Patrick Ness, who won Best Children's Book with his novel, A Monster Calls, and below I'm standing next to Alan Hollinghurst and only a few feet away from Jackie Collins.

That's how surreal a night it was...

 Now the book goes forward to the Galaxy Book of the Year, along with the other winners. You can vote for it (or indeed anything else!) here.

So that's that! Quite a week! It's really been amazing to see how well the book has gone down - when I wrote it I hoped I might find a publisher, but I never dreamt I'd be looking at photos like these - and it's truly wonderful that people are enjoying the book. Thank you.
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Published on November 09, 2011 07:40 • 35 views