Saturday, June 21, 2008

Publication week adventures

Thank you for the welcome back messages. Predictably, I am turning back into a bad blogger again. It is just a fact that fiction is more exciting than reality, at least in my life. I still haven't seen my book on the shelves, but lots of people have, and tell me it looks most fetching...

Publication week was lovely. I had a delightful lunch with my publishers. I don't often use the word delightful - it seems like something the Queen would say - but it seems to fit the very civilised St James' restaurant in Fortnum and Mason (after a very disappointing afternoon tea in their cafe on the ground/first floor a while ago, I've realised that going up a couple of floors is a much better idea). It was like a cross between a gentle, high-class seaside hotel, and an Englishwoman's vision of heaven: soft colours, unobtrusive service, menus you can hide behind. I could imagine people sitting in the same room for between-the-wars assignations (I'm thinking Brief Encounter), or enjoying rare treats in the still-rationed late forties. Though they probably didn't have Onion Tarte Tatin with Goat's Cheese. More likely Chicken Veronique and Bakewell Pudding, perhaps with a nice glass of sherry.

Then I went out with friends to the more raucous Salt Yard in Fitzrovia (I think that's what you call the area, one of those mysterious bits of London I don't know too well), where we each ordered different plates of cheese: four types of goat's cheese (there we go again, the saviour of the Noughties Vegetarian), three types of Manchego with membrillo, a gooey Italian selection and one I was too cheesed out to recall. Plus amazing courgette flowers, battered, drizzled with honey, and filled with...guess what? (It's white, it's creamy and it comes from four-legged hairy creatures that live up mountains) I thought they were delicious but my friends weren't so keen. Great. I got them all to myself!

Every time I have a book published I wonder whether it's right to celebrate - it seems a bit self-indulgent - but people in offices waste no opportunity to celebrate the end of projects, or bonuses, or even just the fact it's Friday! And also my friends seem to get a buzz from it too. Whenever I am in the middle of a book, and don't feel that I'm getting anywhere...or whenever I walk into a bookshop and can only see titles from other authors - they remind me how lucky I am and how amazing it is that I get to do this AND get paid for it.

And do you know what? They're SO right.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Time flies...

I can't believe it's eight months since I last posted on the blog. I am a bad, bad blogger, I admit it. Life has just taken over, in the way life does: I've had a big birthday, spent a fortnight in India (tasting the very best vegetarian food I've had in my life), finished another book, started another book, bought a Wii Fit (yes, it has taken over my life: I am hula-hoop queen but I can't do the football-heading thing at all), put on ten pounds, lost six pounds (and counting), had a few minor health niggles (and concluded Chinese Herbs are the most loathsome thing on the planet), signed up for a gardening course and an OU short course on Nutrition, seen long-lost friends and not-lost-at-all friends, and it's all happened in the blink of an eye.

The publication of another book - my sixth! - is always a landmark, so I thought I ought to pop in and say hello. I'm very excited about The Secret Shopper's Revenge. I find it hard to judge my books, but the people who matter - my editor and agent, my parents, my chums - have been incredibly enthusiastic (and before you say, 'well, they're biased,' actually they don't hesitate to tell me what they think!) and it does have characters I grew to adore while I was writing the novel: dreamy Emily, generous Sandie, and cynical Grazia. I also loved writing about the shops my retail spies visited - the glamorous department stores, the snooty boutiques, the coffee shops and nail bars.

There's an extract over at my website - and the novel goes on sale next week, with the most adorable cover ever: worth seeking it out just to have a look at what the talented design team have done! Waterstones also sent out some advance copies to readers and I have been so chuffed at the reviews (though bear in mind that the reviews have been placed on the paperback export version, when the hardback is cheaper and even more covetable!).

I will try to blog a little more about the progress of my tomatoes and writing projects, but truthfully, like most writers, my books are rather more eventful than my life (and long may it stay that way), so it makes sense for me to focus on the fiction...

Kate xxx

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