Helen Simonson's Blog: Is the first novel the hardest?

April 18, 2017

Upcoming Events

Hi - Just a note to say I'm in Manhattan this Thursday, April 20, at Barnes and Noble Upper East Side to interview Elizabeth Kostova, author of #1 bestseller THE HISTORIAN, about her new book, THE SHADOW LAND. And on Saturday, April 22, I'm at the Bethesda Library at 4pm to talk about my new paperback, THE SUMMER BEFORE THE WAR>. DO come and meet me if you're close by...
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Published on April 18, 2017 07:16 Tags: appearance, book-reading, event

February 28, 2017

Off to Florida

Just back from book tour in the Carolinas and I'm off to Vero Beach and Stuart, FL this week. Hope to meet some Goodreads readers there! The paperback of The Summer Before The War is now out and I just learned it will debut at #13 on the Indie bestseller list for March 1. Very exciting news. Thank you to all of you who rushed out to buy it. It's so fun to see my paperback in all the airport bookshops as I travel. I sort of hang about in front of the display taking pictures and hope someone will ask me why - no luck so far! Off to pack...
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Published on February 28, 2017 14:04 Tags: bestseller, new-book, paperback, the-summer-before-the-war

February 7, 2017

Ready to meet my readers

As my paperback book tour approaches I'm looking forward to meeting my readers around the country. But of course I can't get to as many places as I'd like. So just to say that like many authors I do visit book clubs, libraries and bookstores DIGITALLY. One day perhaps I'll be able to visit by hologram but right now I do offer SKYPE or FaceTime meetings. Of course it's free of charge, Just send me an email with a couple of dates and tell me a little about your group. If we can line up our schedules I'll be glad to pop by! Apparently over 1,400 Goodreads folks are currently reading The Summer Before The War. I hope I get to meet a few of you at least, on the road or on a laptop screen near you! Best regards, Helen S.
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Published on February 07, 2017 07:34 Tags: book-clubs, book-tour, meet-helen-simonson, skype-visit

January 15, 2017

Paperback release is almost here

I'm getting ready for the paperback release of The Summer Before The War which happens on my mother's birthday, February 21. I'll be launching at Malaprop's Bookstore in Asheville and then touring six cities in all. My website has all the event details. I don't know about other writers but for me book tour means struggling with serious literary issues...will I look fat in that middle seat on a regional airline? Is it appropriate to charge that martini to my expense account? Should I hit the hotel gym or watch rubbish TV and raid the mini bar for Snickers? Actually, for a girl who grew up without the funds to travel, I absolutely love book tour and can't wait to head to the airport. It's also the dream of my life to be in book stores talking to readers and meeting booksellers. If you're in the neighborhood I hope you'll come and meet me. If not, I'm always happy to meet you and your book group via Skype or phone. Wish me luck, here I go...
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Published on January 15, 2017 13:04 Tags: book-tour, summer-before-the-war

June 14, 2016

Summer is here

I can't believe my book tour is over but I'm looking forward to a long summer of writing and reading. My favorite spots for reading: a hammock under a very large London Plane tree or a poolside lounger with a tall beverage! My favorite writing spot: I need to be indoors and away from any such mesmerizing natural beauty.
Book tour took me all over the USA and to Canada and the UK. I was so happy to meet my readers and so many of you were such heartfelt Major Pettigrew fans.
I can report that The Summer Before The War is selling wonderfully and has been on many bestseller lists including six weeks in hardback on the New York Times Bestseller List. Thank you to all who are supporting the book. I'm hoping readers and booksellers will continue to recommend it through the summer and it's my dream to see my novel resting on someone's beach towel. Regards, Helen S.
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Published on June 14, 2016 12:07 Tags: beach, book-tour, summer, writing

January 14, 2016

Ten Weeks to Book Launch

Remember what it felt like as a child to sit at the top of a very tall slide and anticipate the rush of air and loss of control about to come in the moment of bodily launching down the shiny metal curve to the distant ground below? Well that's sort of how I feel now as I pause at the brink of publication. I'm already anticipating the acceleration and the adrenaline about to hit me as I get out there in the bookshops and the libraries, clutching at podiums, trying to breathe between sentences, knees knocking together. The Summer Before The War is out on March 22 and though book tour is the greatest fun, in this quiet pause before, it seems a bit overwhelming. One, two, three...launch!
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Published on January 14, 2016 07:51

September 22, 2015

The Summer Before the War is off and running

My second novel, The Summer Before the War, will be published March 22, 2016 and is now available for preorder. It has a cover too which should now be online and can be seen on my website at www.helensimonson.com. If I were not such a Luddite I would upload an image here but alas it is beyond my tech skills. My husband wants to know how long I plan to rest on my laurels and when I will be getting to work on book three. Sigh, no rest for the lazy writer...
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Published on September 22, 2015 14:08 Tags: 1914, english-country, new-novel, summer, war

August 3, 2015

Copy Editing is a full body flossing!

The harder I look, the more the possible edits multiply. The more I correct, the more errors the copy editors ferret out. The closer to deadline, the more impossible it seems that I can ever let the book out of my grasp. Surely there is one more fierce line to write? Fortunately the publishing process moves along and my time is almost up. My second novel, The Summer Before the War, will be published in March 2016. I see it already listed on goodreads. Set in East Sussex, in the glorious summer that was 1914, it tells the story of an independent young woman arriving in an ancient, settled-in-its-ways town, to take up a post teaching Latin at the grammar school. Such a radical idea is bound to set the tongues wagging and Beatrice Nash will face opposition and discover new loyalties as an impossible war looms just beyond the horizon.
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Published on August 03, 2015 14:11 Tags: 1914, edwardian-life, english-fiction, love-story, sussex, teachers, world-war-one

April 29, 2015

New book delivered

Just a quick note to let my Goodreads friends know that my second novel has been officially accepted for publication by Random House and will be coming out some time next spring, 2016. More info later this summer but I can tell you it's more pages than Major P. so get ready to settle in for a long, and hopefully satisfying, read! Meanwhile, I'm settling in to begin novel number three and putting the first few pages down on the computer this week! It's a beautiful spring day in Brooklyn and all the cherry blossoms are in bloom. Perfect writing conditions.
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Published on April 29, 2015 11:07 Tags: helen-simonson, new-book

June 29, 2011

Hard to keep up

It's hard to keep up with all the social media in my life and so usually I just don't! Since my last blog post I have: optioned Major Pettigrew movie rights, enjoyed my paperback on the NY Times Bestseller list for 27 weeks, negotiated to translate the Major into more than 16 languages, traveled to twenty plus US cities, won an award in the UK...I'm so glad it's now summer vacation. I am working on a second novel, acquired by Random House (thank you RH friends!)and am still doing speaking engagements and online book club Skypes for the Major. I feel very lucky to be living my dream as a published author. I plan to spend much of the summer reading - and hopefully I'll remember to update my Goodreads list. Have a wonderful summer of books everyone! HS
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Published on June 29, 2011 10:05

Is the first novel the hardest?

Helen Simonson
Writing a novel is like carrying around armfuls of spaghetti and meatballs without a bowl. It can be a lonely process and we all need friends, teachers and whatever sources of inspiration get us throu ...more
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