Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Tour recap

Hi, dreamers.

It's been a while since I updated the blog, and so much has happened since then that I thought it was past time I popped in . . .

The Song Rising is published at last, and I'm so thrilled with the response to it. Thank you. This book always felt like a risk, as it's so dissimilar to The Mime Order and you all had to wait two years for it, but I'm glad so many of you have enjoyed it. I feel like this is the last rosy glow of goodwill you'll have towards me before I smash all your hearts underfoot in Book 4. (On the subject of Book 4: It has a working title I love. Fingers crossed Bloomsbury will agree to it.)  

After publication day I did a whirlwind tour of the UK and USA. It kicked off with an event in Glasgow, then I was off to Edinburgh for the official launch party, organised by the fabulous Philippa and Janet from Bloomsbury. During The Song Rising, Paige visits the South Bridge Vaults in Edinburgh, and it turns out you can actually hire part of them for events. Wine by candlelight, having my makeup done by Lauren Gollan, and a giant Join the Revolution banner – I had the time of my life. Thank you to everyone who joined me to celebrate my long-awaited publication day, especially those of you who made your way up to Scotland from other parts of the UK.

Photo (c) Philippa Cotton

Afterwards, I did events in Manchester and London before crossing the pond for the US leg of my tour. In sweltering Arizona, after a ten-hour flight, I spoke with a host of great authors at the Tucson Festival at Books, including V. E. Schwab, Erika Lewis and Marie Brennan, and took a stroll in the Sonoran Desert. In Colorado, I visited Tattered Cover in Denver and got interviewed by Heather, who I first met after my car accident in Kansas City a few years ago. In North Carolina, I was charmed by a Southern hotel with an old-fashioned bath, where the rooms smelled of magnolia, and even more charmed by the team at Flyleaf Books – Banshion, Travis and Colin – who were kind enough to make me proper tea in a pot (!) and source a tray of British biscuits and chocolate. (This is a big deal. Tea is scarce on tour.) In Miami, I tried Cuban food for the first time. In Georgia, I got my teeth into real Southern food – chicken, fried okra and corn muffins – and visited the Margaret Mitchell House on Peachtree Street in Atlanta. And finally, in snowy Toronto, I had one of the most enthusiastic audiences I've had in ages. Questions galore. Then it was back to the UK to do events in York, Sheffield – where I did my first ever Bone Season event in 2013 – and Birmingham, and finally in Oxford, where I spoke with Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Melinda Salisbury for the Oxford Writers' Circle. 

So . . . that was a busy month. And if that wasn't enough travel to be going on with, I've just got back from my trip to Warsaw and Poznań to celebrate the launch of Pieśń Jutra, the Polish translation of The Song Rising



Polish readers have been incredibly supportive of the Bone Season series, so I was thrilled to be invited by my publisher in Poland, Wydawnictwo SQN. During the tour, I did signings in Warsaw and Poznań, got to meet some wonderful YouTubers – Anita, Laura, Maja, Paweł and Zuzanna – and attended Pyrkon, a huge fantasy and sci-fi convention, where I did several panels and made a speech on Strong Female Characters.

I've never seen a convention quite as vast as this one. Some of the panels had hundreds of people in the audience. Attendees can sleep in the complex overnight, so the fun goes on 24/7. Because of that, many of the events started quite late – I had one at 9pm. I wonder if we should try doing something like that at YALC or LFCC . . .

I'm going to post the transcript of my Strong Female Characters speech on here soon, so keep an eye out if you're interested in that sort of thing. 

So that's what I've been up to for the last couple of months. And here's what I have coming up next.



What I'm working on 

I'm delighted to report that I just got my edits for The Priory of the Orange Tree. By some miracle, there isn't a colossal amount of structural work to do on it, so perhaps those 1000+ pages weren't all waffle after all. I'm editing Priory alongside writing the first draft of TBS4, which has passed 60K words. Fingers crossed, if I can manage switching between them, both will be finished by the end of July.




On my bookshelf 


Hild by Nicola Griffin, a semi-fictional imagining of the early life of Saint Hilda of Whitby, was a strange experience for me. Usually I tear through books and finish them in one or two days, but Hild took me weeks – not because I wasn't enjoying it, but because the world was so dense and intricate that I really had to slow down and savour it to keep abreast of what was going on. I have an interest in British history of this period, and I'll admit that I found it difficult to keep up with some of the background conflicts and names, but the focus on the role of women in early Anglo-Saxon society was fascinating. Griffin has a sublime writing style, and I mean that in the Romantic sense of the word. She paints the natural world vividly and intertwines Hild's story with the importance of textile production during this period, focusing on the ‘warp and weft’ of a country divided by fault lines of loyalty and religion. And God, that twist at the end. I'll be first in line for the second book.

Other books I've enjoyed recently are A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson, a high fantasy about Aqib bgm Sadiqi, royal cousin and Master of Beasts in Olorum, and the searing love he finds with a Daluçan soldier (thank you, Banshion, for the recommendation); Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence, a heart-pounding thriller about family, music, gang culture and drugs in East London; The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano, an exquisite retelling of the tale of King Midas – only this time, a princess can turn living things to gemstone; and Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova, which is about brujas in New York. 'Nuff said. 

You must also get to the bookshop and pick up The Seafarer's Kiss by Julia Ember, a Viking-inspired take on The Little Mermaid. It's body-positive, dark, and sexy, and the mermaid society Ember has built is rich with detail.

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