Here’s a slightly edited version of this month’s newsletter which was sent out last week. (If you’d like to subscribe, you can do so here.)
Happy March to you all, and a special welcome to all those lovely people who subscribed to this newsletter because it was my fiftieth birthday recently and they felt sorry for me.
It’s been busy around here. I recently arrived back from a quick visit to New York to visit the lovely marketing and publicity folks at Flatiron Books. We are busy hatching plans as publication of The Paris Hours gets ever nearer. We’ve just announced the book tour – click here to see if I’m coming anywhere near you. (If I’m not, I’ll still sign and personalize a book for you if you order a copy from Skylark Bookshop.)
In other news, after a couple of false dawns I’ve finally decided what story I’m going to tell next. Consequently I’m settling back into daily 5 a.m. starts, as I begin to feel my way into the new novel. It’s a relief to be writing something new again. Added bonus: when I write for a couple of hours before the rest of the world wakes up, it feels as if anything might be possible. (As long as there’s coffee. Lots of coffee.)
If all that wasn’t enough, the Unbound Book Festival is fast approaching. We’re bringing lots of fabulous writers to Columbia for the event – and (because I didn’t have enough to do, apparently) I’ll be participating in a panel discussion about historical fiction with Whitney Scharer and Meg Waite Clayton. Putting the festival on will be pretty much a full-time job between now and the end of April. I’ll have a few days to recover, and then The Paris Hours is published just over a week later. Madness.
If you’re looking for something good to read, a couple of very different recommendations this month: Jenny Offill’s new novel, Weather, is a punchy, funny, desperate and unforgettable read. And I’ve just finished the audiobook of Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill, which reads like a gripping spy novel – the marvel (and terror) of it is that every word is true.
For your listening pleasure, may I suggest Wherein Lies the Good, by the Westerlies. This New York based brass quartet mixes jazz, roots, and chamber music and sound unlike anything else I’ve ever heard. I can’t stop listening to them.