Tuesday, 22 January 2013

A Day in the Life (Part Two)

I am completely run off my feet today, so I'm just going to point you to my guest post over at the Random House blog. I'm their Author in Residence this month, which is totally cool, so do pop over and have a look!

I wrote about a day in my writing life a couple of years ago and so much has changed since then (book out, baby out, moving house) that I thought I ought to take stock again. That guest post is the result. Here are tiny extracts from both posts to compare:


3.50 PM: Notice that I received a text message half an hour ago. Odd. Why didn't I hear that? Hmm. Forget to reply to text message because brain is fully lost in book-world. 
4.10 PM: Realize I'm hungry. Even odder. Have I not eaten today? Oh. Why didn't I? Hmm. Forget to eat because brain is fully lost in book-world. 
5 PM: Brain aches. Eat a plum.


10.30AM – 12.30PM Baby asleep. Put baby very gingerly down in cot and race like a maniac to laptop. Write one blog post, two pages of book and answer interview questions for blogger. Start writing a third page of book. Consider eating. Baby wakes up and interrupts.

It's amazing how much difference a tiny baby can make! (And also how some things don't change at all...)

Hope you're all having a fantastic week.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

It's out there!

To those of you who follow my page on Facebook or who've seen this on Twitter, this may be old news. But I wanted to share it here anyway!

My book.

In a real bookshop.

On real shelves.

In a lot of ways, this was the moment I spent years waiting for. This was the moment it was supposed to, finally, feel real. And to be perfectly honest, there are few things - very few things - more exciting and squee-worthy than seeing your book on shelves. (It's also kind of embarrassing to stand there taking photographs while people stare, but we'll disregard that part.)

I loved it. But I also realized, when I saw it, that my book had already felt real. It had been real for a couple of months and it was only in hindsight that I realized that. I think it became real the moment I got my first email from a reader, from someone who didn't know me or my mother or my husband in the slightest, from someone who completely randomly picked up my book and loved it. It felt real then.

So seeing my book was brilliant. I will always, always treasure the moment I spotted it and spotted subsequent copies of it elsewhere. But getting your emails is even more brilliant. Thank you for that.

What are you excited about this week?

PS. I know the book's been out there in the US and plenty of other places for months, so this is probably in no way exciting for you guys, but this was the first time I got to go see it. So it was a win for me.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Cover Talk: interview with Bella Kotak

I am super, super excited today to introduce you guys to the totally awesome Bella Kotak. I managed to wrangle Bella into doing an interview with me (thanks, Bella!)

Bella is the cover model on the UK edition of The Lost Girl, which is now officially available - yep, that's her face below! - and she also happens to be the photographer too. Which seems twice as cool to me. I'm normally so intrigued by cover models, and the process behind designing book covers, so when my editors at Random House Children's Books told me about Bella, I jumped at the chance to find out more.

Hi, Bella! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

Hi Sangu! Alright, well my name is Bella and at the moment I work as both an architect and a photographer. 

Did you always want to work in photography? Or was it just something that happened?

Photography for me began really as a hobby. I'd always been interested in taking pictures and in 2006 discovered Flickr and the incredible amount of talent on that site. I came across a few people who were doing a 365 project ( a self portrait a day for a year) and that inspired me to pick up a camera and see what I could create. It was this project that really challenged and fuelled my passion and by the time I bought my first dSLR I was completely hooked. After that it really was a case of friends seeing my work and either hiring me or recommending me to new customers. I wouldn't have come as far as I have if it wasn't for their support.

The photo on the UK cover of THE LOST GIRL is a self-portrait, right? So you were the photographer and the cover model. Can you tell us what that was like?

Yes it's a self-portrait. Taking one is relatively straight forward, it's just a simple case of setting the camera up on a tripod and using a wireless remote to release the shutter. The edit is later done in photoshop.

I was given a synopsis of the book as well as several precedents of the style / look the publisher was going for. They'd already been through my work so were able to tell me what they liked and wanted me to provide expressions that was akin to the concept of feeling lost, watchfulness and so on. 

I provided them with a selection of images and we then began discussions.

What are some of your favourite books?

I guess anything with an element of fantasy and adventure. I love Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and South of the border, West of the sun both by Haruki Murakami and of course Harry Potter! I also love flicking through photography books, my favourite is Pictures, by Tim Walker. It's huge and bursting with creativity!

And finally: you're stranded on a desert island. What three things would you take with you?

Shampoo, ipad, hammock. If I had to be stranded at least I could be comfortable ;)

Isn't she fab? Hope you're all having a fantastic week!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Hello, 2013!

Happy New Year, everyone!

I hope you've all had a fantastic Christmas, New Year and general holiday season. My parents and brother came to visit so, for the first time in about five years, we were all together on Christmas Day. I have the baby to thank for that (yeah, they weren't going to make the effort for me) so... thanks, Jem!

I have a lot to look forward to in 2013. The UK edition of The Lost Girl is out on Thursday, I'm working on exciting new projects, the baby is healthy and (when he gets his way) happy and is growing more fun to watch every day, and I HAVE A MACBOOK AIR. I'm a kid, an instant-gratification kind of girl, so as excited as I am about everything I've just mentioned, I kind of have to admit the thing I am really and truly looking forward to doing first in 2013 is playing with my Mac. 

I think I may be addicted to expensive electronics...

As for you guys, I have a lot of cool stuff planned for you too! I'm going to have a contest soon, because it's been yonks since my last one; I'm hoping to finish some new Lost Girl extras and snippets and share them in the near future; I've putting together some writing-related sketches and drawings for those of you who might like to see more of the book, its world and my other writing; I... well, actually, that's all I can think of right now, but I promise this will be a fun year!

What are you looking forward to in 2013?