I’m very excited to tell you that I have a new novel in production. It’s called THE HIDDEN HOURS, and it’s a story of family betrayals and shocking secrets, wrapped in pacy suspense. It was quite a challenge to write, and I’m sure I’ll have more to say about that in the coming months! Set between London and outback Western Australia, here’s a teaser:
Arabella Lane, popular children’s publisher and daughter of a prominent MP, is found dead in the Thames on a frosty winter’s morning after the office Christmas party. No one is sure whether she jumped or was pushed. The one person who may know the truth is the newest employee at Parker & Lane – the office temp, Eleanor.
Eleanor has travelled to London to escape the repercussions of her traumatic childhood in outback Australia, but now tragedy seems to follow her wherever she goes. She falls under suspicion as one of the last people to talk to Arabella, and because she cannot recall a few vital hours of that night. When she finds herself holding a key piece of evidence, she’s unsure whether she dare reveal it to the police, in case she thereby implicates herself in some kind of foul play.
As Eleanor desperately tries to uncover the truth, her extended family are dragged further into the murky terrain that surrounds Arabella’s death. Meanwhile, Arabella’s violent and arrogant husband Nathan seems to suspect Eleanor of being involved, and is determined to get her to confess. Caught in a crossfire of accusations, Eleanor begins to fall apart, her memories of past and present intermingling. Soon she is in a race against time to find out just what happened that night, because danger lurks far closer to home than she could ever have imagined.
I hope that entices you, and I can’t wait to share more very soon. Published by Simon & Schuster, it will be on the shelves in April 2017.col-md-2
If you like Podcasts you can listen to me talking about All That is Lost Between Us in the second half of 3MBS’s Pageturners, hosted by Diana Ross.col-md-2
It’s only a few days until the Perth Writers Festival, where I have a very busy schedule. My final event on Sunday is my book launch, and you are all invited. Do come and join us if you are attending the festival, it would be great to see you there.
All That is Lost Between Us is finally in the shops! Thanks to all the advance readers the book has felt ‘out there’ for a while, but it’s wonderful to reach this official release date. It’s now also up in my online store, and you can request a signed copy at checkout. And until 5 February there’s a chance to win a complete set of my books over at Book Muster Down Under.
In the past week I have been talking about the book all over the place, and there’s plenty more to come. So far in the blog tour I have visited:
And I have been thrilled to read some wonderful reviews from Write Note Reviews, Readings, and this very special one from Hannah Richell, a writer whose work I deeply admire, in the Australian Women’s Weekly.
Now I’m off to celebrate, but not for long as I have a novel to finish!
Watch this space for Book 5.
Thank you for visiting my site. I’m very happy to be participating in the Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop for 2016, the brainchild of Shelleyrae at Book’d Out – and it’s come at a very exciting time for me as I’m just days away from the official Australian launch date of my fourth novel, All That is Lost Between Us. I have only just received my very first box of books hot off the press, and one of them could be yours! To be one of the first to read my new novel, all you have to do is leave a comment here – a ‘hello’ will get you into the draw, but I’d love you to give me a book recommendation too!
When you have entered my giveaway, please visit the Book’d Out Australia Day Book Giveaway page, and check out all the awesome authors, publishers and bloggers who are taking part. There are over 30 chances to win some fantastic Aussie books!
TERMS & CONDITIONS: This giveaway is open to Australian residents only. The winner will be selected at random after entries close at midnight on 27 January and the winning name will be posted here and notified the following day (28 Jan).col-md-2
And here’s a teaser as to what it’s all about:
The lies we tell for love are the most dangerous of all.
Seventeen-year-old Georgia has a secret – one that is isolating her from everyone she loves. She is desperate to tell her best friend, but Sophia is ignoring her, and she doesn’t know why. Before she can find out, Sophia is left fighting for her life after a hit and run, with Georgia a traumatised witness.
As a school psychologist, Georgia’s mother Anya should be used to dealing with scared adolescents. However, it’s very different when the girl who needs help is your own child. Meanwhile, Georgia’s father is wracked with a guilt he can’t share; and when Zac, Georgia’s younger brother, stumbles on an unlikely truth, the family relationships really begin to unravel.
Georgia’s secret is about to go viral. And yet, it will be the stranger heading for the family home who will leave her running through the countryside into terrible danger. Can the Turner family rise above the lies they have told to betray or protect one another, in order to fight for what matters most of all?
Set against the stark, rugged beauty of England’s Lake District, All that is Lost Between Us is a timeless thriller with a modern twist.
Today it’s my pleasure to help celebrate the release of Annabel Smith’s The Ark by joining in this group post on writing in the digital age. Annabel’s book is PERFECT for the digital age – a new invention of the epistolary form using emails and transcripts to tell the story of a group of people trapped in an underground bunker with vaults of priceless seeds in the year 2041. What’s more, The Ark is truly interactive – you can explore the bunker, listen to the characters speaking, and add your own fan fiction at thearkbook.com. So first of all, congratulations, Annabel, on your genre-defying dystopia and its groundbreaking format.
I have transitioned to writing in the digital age alongside the publishing industry. When I first began proofreading I had to learn all the little symbols that are the proofreader’s shorthand, and bulky tree-toppling typescripts would be couriered to me. However, my editing jobs slowly moved towards using tracked changes online over the last decade, and now I edit my own work the same way.
I find writing in the digital age to be a mixed bag – the internet pummels me with distraction and trivia as soon as I venture online, but there are many gems to be found too – and the joys of instant research rather than endless treks to the library are amazing. I’m certainly grateful for programs like Word and Scrivener – I think back to viewing Jane Austen’s manuscripts in the British library (incredible, to think her hand and mine had both been so close to the same sheet of paper) and I wonder about the personal qualities needed to complete an entire manuscript by hand.
When I become one of the billions of consumers of internet content, I can have a dozen moments of connection and disconnection in a single minute. If I’m writing intensely I find this exhausting, and I try to avoid it. I need to keep my story under the spotlight, and going online is too much of a firework display. The internet is a fantastic tool for publishing and promotion, but it’s also an endless noise-maker, making even the most meaningful things seem scarily devoid of meaning if I linger in this virtual world for too long. However, I cannot be anything but thankful for all the connections and relationships it has brokered for me since it came into existence.
Whether I like it or not, I belong to this digital age. How else could I be talking to you now? I’m ensnared in the worldwide web, by turns exhilarated and exhausted – doing my best to tame the techno-beast before it gobbles me up. In case that happens, as Annabel releases her new work into worlds virtual and real, I urge you to click here without delay and discover The Ark for yourself.
Find out what my fellow writers have to say about writing in the digital age by visiting their blogs. You’ll notice we have a new member, Yvette Walker, author of Letters to the End of Love. Welcome to our group, Yvette!
Last year I joined forces with five other authors to bring you a series of blog posts on different aspects of our writing lives. Today we’re teaming up again to celebrate the release of Dawn Barker’s new book, Let Her Go, and to talk about our experiences of writing second novels.
Back in the days when I worked for a major London publishing house, ‘second novel syndrome’ was a well-known phenomenon. Authors would often sign two-book contracts based on the delivery of an outstanding debut novel, and publishers would wait with tightly held breath for the delivery of the subsequent book. There was one question on their minds: was this author a one-hit wonder or a career novelist? Upon delivery, the first reading would be a hasty and tense affair, and I can still remember the looks of relief on a publisher’s face if their investment was ratified, and the agony if it wasn’t.
Years later, my first ‘two book’ publishing contract coincided with my first baby. As a result, I ended up writing most of Beneath the Shadows in the first six months of my daughter’s life. If I’d thought second book syndrome was scary, it had nothing on first-time motherhood! It was a rather intense ride, not helped by the fact this was my first experience of writing to a publisher’s deadline, with a publication date already penned in before the first draft was complete.
However, I was lucky in that my second novel was actually my first. I had begun writing Beneath the Shadows some years before Come Back to Me, and I already had about twenty thousand words before my new idea took over. Therefore, I had a good foundation on which to build when I returned to this ‘second’ book.
Being aware of the curse of the second novel also did me a few favours. It made me work harder from the get-go to try to avoid the pitfalls. By then I was aware that I was writing for a readership, and that I was entering a new realm where people could begin to compare my work and decide if I was progressing or stagnating. However, Beneath the Shadows brought fresh experiments in plot, structure and narrative goals, and I found the experience of writing it as exhilarating and excruciating as every other book.
Now that I’m working on the final part of my fourth novel, I realise that no book will ever be easy for me to write, and nor should they be. If I get too comfortable I take it as a warning sign that something is going wrong. The aim is always to craft a world so compelling that it leaps from my mind onto the page and rebounds into the imagination of the reader. In the end, every story is a fresh chance and a new challenge.
Many congratulations, Dawn, on the release of Let Her Go. You have worked so hard and deserve every moment of celebration. I, for one, cannot wait to read it.
Find out more about my fellow writers’ experiences of producing their second novels:
Dawn Barker: …magical things happened while writing this book that weren’t so prominent with my first. The writing process felt more natural, more organic.
Amanda Curtin: I wasn’t conscious then of specific ‘second novel’ pressure; I was too busy coming to grips with what I was trying to do conceptually and narratively with Elemental.
Annabel Smith: People always talk about how difficult it is to get a debut novel published; no one ever talks about how difficult it is with a second. But it was really really difficult.
Emma Chapman: I feel terribly lucky to have the opportunity to share my work and get feedback from qualified, trusted members of the publishing industry.