Tuesday, April 26, 2005

And then it was someone else's week...

Word count: 130,695 (I've sort of finished)

It's a strange thing. Mypublication date is now last week, my novel yesterday's news. This is the time that authors find difficult - no reliable sign yet of how things are selling, no feedback yet from friends or family... no indicator of whether it's a turkey or a triumph.

I'm really pleased that I have sorted my book launch party for this week as it helps to stave off the risk of Post Publication Depression. I have been looking forward to The Starter Marriage being published for a year now, and it feels strange now it's gone out into the world, looking for sympathetic homes. Last week I also had a treat of lunch with Kate, Gen, Juliet and Emma at Orion which made me feel all warm and fluffy (and a touch drunk too). Now it's normal life again. To illustrate the depth of author paranoia, here are a few indicators of writers in that PP phase:
  • They do check amazon almost on the hour. A score under 2000 means elation; a score in the 8,000s or above is enough to drive them to hard liquor.
  • Reviews. Can't live with 'em. Can't live without em etc... so today my book was in Heat. Very exciting. Got four stars (out of five). Very positive review. Lovely big picture of the jacket. One negative comment about some of the minor characters. Guess which one I am fixating on?
  • Relatives. My parents haven't called. Do they hate it?
  • I could go on but frankly it's too boring.

So. It's not pretty, is it, the inside of a writer's psyche? Luckily we can always pour our extreme emotions into the next book. And compared to Rejection Letter-Induced Melancholy, it's a dream come true.

Lovely link of the day:

More for the reader than the self-obsessed writer (that's me I'm talking about), Maud Newton is ever-reliable and fascinating. I feel like a cheat putting this blog in BUT it's worth it on the off chance that someone hasn't discovered it...

Thursday, April 21, 2005

D-Day!

Word Count: 125,456

My historical ignorance could be showing up here but I seem to remember that the D in D-Day stood for 'Day' which always seemed odd. Anyway, today is Day Day for Starter Marriage and I am officially excited.

Yesterday was lovely - I did some local radio interviews and really enjoyed being back on air. Spoke to a really interesting divorced woman called Margot on Radio Leeds and she and the presenter asked whether my publicity photo was twenty years old as apparently most author pictures are! Mine isn't, honest!

Then I signed LOADS of book stock in Waterstones in Oxford Street and Piccadilly - a huge contrast to when my first novel came out and I struggled to find it. Highlights there included a woman called Kelly from near Blackpool coming up saying she'd read about the book and wanted to buy it as she's getting divorced and moving to London - I was really thrilled! My first real live customer... Good luck with the move! Then in Waterstones, one of the booksellers, Richard, came up to ask for a signed copy because he'd loved the book when he saw it in proof - I was so pleased it appealed to men as well...

I'm sounding a bit gushing now, aren't I? OK, will have a rant just to prove I am still Kate really. Wanadoo - WHY??????? I have broadband with them and spent about two days and six hours on the phone to various alleged 'helplines' trying to get it to reconnect after their stupid wireless connector totally stopped working. It took five hours to connect to the ethernet cable and THEN the guy hung up on me. After 51 minutes! Really shoddy service. Apparently they also sent me an untested LiveBox wireless thing back in September so no wonder it's really unreliable. Stuff like that drives me mad. They still charged me £79 for a duff bit of kit. Grrrr. All that time when I could have been checking my amazon rating... don't they know how much work I have to do???

Lovely link of the day:
I should have looked here before signing up to wanadoo, really...

Monday, April 18, 2005

Minus three: the first sighting

Word count: 124,201

I saw it! Well, them! In Books Etc, Hammersmith... the magazine has just moved offices and I wanted to go to Tesco to buy more low-carb ingredients (God, it was Hell in Tesco - Monday night panic buying or something?) so I passed the shop and there it was. Two of them face out on the shelf, not totally at eye level but a good shelf all the same.

A few minutes later, I had a phone call on my mobile from Mark, who I used to work with at the BBC and is one of those rare people with a brain the size of a planet but without the ego to match! He'd just bought a copy! Hurrah for Mark! It made my day...

Apart from that, am having collywobbles (I love that word) about the WIP as I really hoped it would be finished by now. But I keep realising there's more I need to do. An author's work really is NEVER done.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The final countdown...

Word count: 123,264

Four days till The Starter Marriage is 'officially' published - though most books, including mine, usually go on sale days before the listed date. So it could be in the shops tomorrow! I had a lovely but very busy week this week. Up stupidly early today to see my sister off her flight from Bangkok: she looked very tanned and healthy. Yesterday met my parents for lunch. Friday I worked from home on magazine work, because the move meant there were no computers in the office.

Thursday was the fantastic Romantic Novelists' Association lunch at the Savoy - very yummy food and met some top people, including Erica James, whose novels I really enjoy. She was nominated for the prize for the fourth time, but was pipped by A Good Voyage which I haven't read. The only downside was it was the first booze I'd had since starting my diet so I felt rather befuddled once I got home!

Lovely Link of the Day:
My mind is much focussed on marketing at the moment and Kate Allan, a new novelist who is an RNA member, has been getting some amazing success in terms of press and other coverage for The Lady Soldier, a book she's written with another author. Very interesting to follow what she's doing - too late for me this time, but hopefully next time I will take some leaves out of her book.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Flawless finish - and new website

Word Count: 122,502

Lovely sunny Sunday today, but am feeling a bit frazzled, juggling three lives: day job, novelist and self-promoter! Though lots of nice things are happening:

  1. My new website is FANTASTIC, thanks to the fab James Williams. Do please take a look here: www.kate-harrison.com - it has the Boot Camp for the Broken-hearted; the chance to sign up for my Between the Lines club for readers and writers (first issue due in May) plus the first chapter from my new book. Soon it'll also have the results of the survey lots of you replied to. Hope you like it as much as I do.
  2. My diet seems to be working. Waistbands are looser and I feel I have lost weight off my face. Judge for yourself from the photo on my site, including my new dark hair as well...
  3. Have had some lovely reviews, including one today in the Mail on Sunday's You magazine - which I hope will help. Also a terrific one in Easy Living magazine, lots of nice words like 'poignant' and 'richly portrayed characters' etc, plus mentions in Eve and Red. Only slight downside is that it's not out yet but I hope people will remember it when they're in bookshops etc.
  4. Despite being manically busy I managed a bit of retail therapy this morning: new shoes, a top from Karen Millen with peacock feathers on it (sounds horrid but isn't) at less than 1/3rd original price. Oh and spent a fortune on make-up. Have been wearing really thick caked on Estee Lauder for years, because I used to do lots of TV reporting and it lasted all day, but am finally coming into 21st century, thanks to Laura Mercier.
  5. My sister's coming home from eight months of travelling on Sunday. Wow!

So, there you go. Plenty of blessings to count...

Lovely link of the day:

Well, I want to plug my website again. Hope no-one minds,

Have a great week,

Kate x

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Tofu steaks and asparagus

Word count: 121,836

Still busy, busy, busy. And still low-carbing. I'm feeling really good on it now - missing coffee and wine a bit but everything else feels very normal (if griddled tofu 'steaks' count as normal), though I can't quite believe that eating say 50g of cheese a day, and the odd bit of butter for cooking, will help me lose weight... Had yummy asparagus for tea tonight. AsI don't have any scales in the flat (must buy some this weekend), I have no way of telling.

Had my hair done today, really dark again (it had faded a bit since I last had it done, about five months ago) and caught up with my hairdresser's gossip, she had loads about her dates and her weight loss and being a bridesmaid in Fiji. Wish I was going to Fiji. Weather forecast for the next couple of days is Artic so it's back into woolies for me.

Very dull social life this week, deliberately, so I can keep the diet up, and also make progress on Brown Owl. I feel like I'm cracking it AT LONG LAST. I've gone through and raised the tension in lots of places and have also worked in the guiding history and so on a bit more. Slightly anxious that I might lose readers who weren't Guides/live in countries where there are no girl guides BUT I think the whole thing has enough retro charm for people to be interested. Fingers crossed.

Lovely Link of the Day
This is what I mean about the charm... It shows all the books Baden-Powell (founder of Scouts) wrote or contributed to.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Low Carb Life

Word count: 120,104

I'm on a diet. Low-carb veggie diet, to be precise. At the magazine, they have a freebie table where people put things that have been used or sent in and on there I found Rose Elliot's The Vegetarian Low-Carb Diet. And as a direct consequence of that, I am now cutting the carbs and hoping it's worth it.

Me and Rose Elliot go back a long way. I bought lots of her books when I first went veggie when I was 18 and still remember baking an avocado at her suggestion. Then a couple of years ago, when I was making a programme called Ever Wondered about Beans (honestly!) I interviewed her and also realised we share the same literary agent. So I thought it was worth a go.

It's the fifth day of the diet today and it's very odd indeed. I have been craving sweet things as there are no fruits permitted in the first two weeks. Actually, I gave up that bit this morning because I couldn't face more scrambled eggs for breakfast and the only alternative I fancy is Greek Yoghurt and though I love it, it's AWFUL without something sweet. So I sprinkled on about 10 sultanas which is sooo naughty in low-carb terms. I've now bought some raspberries and will treat myself to FOUR of them (woopy-do) with my yoghurt tomorrow. There's also no caffeine and no booze. The only good things are CHEESE and avocado but even cheese is less appealing without bread. I think because it's so tough I am managing to keep going because I don't want to give up. No idea if I am in the mythical state of 'ketosis' where you start burning off your reserves of body fat but I really hope so.

The reason for my weight loss campaign is a) generally being cheesed off with feeling fat and b) my book launch plans for the end of the month. I want to look fairly slim and also kickstart the whole weight loss thing. Then I plan to gradually reintroduce a few bits - bread and rice will be hard to go without for life. And I do love fruits and puddings. But all in moderation.

Apart from the diet (which has ruled my life, and meant I am not going out for very long as I am so boring, drinking water), not much happening. I've spent most of this gorgeous afternoon at my laptop working on revisions to Brown Owl. Am determined to give it to my editor before my new one's published, for psychological reasons... I've also been totting up the results of my Starter Marriage survey which has been fascinating. Will post them here when they're finished.

Lovely Link of the Day:
Once I've finished the book, I'm going into DIY frenzy and this site is going to be my guide. Hurrah.

Have a lovely week,
Kate x