Friday, 22 June 2012

Certain sense of achievement


Spread the word – I’m a publisher with three titles to my list! You hope, but you can’t always quite believe, that you’ll manage it while in the middle of negotiations with everybody and doing all the project-management from typesetting to cover image sourcing. I’ve been lucky to work with some very talented artists and designers and brought out three distinctly different novels. It did cross my mind to publish a very plain wrapper and use lettering instead of artwork, but preferred to develop different covers for each novel and reflect their own characters. 

It’s been a week or so without much time for reflection as I’ve concentrated on packing and posting a massive advance and new order list for The Two Linties. If you’re not familiar with Lintie, may I recommend someone who finds that interesting things happen in kitchens, even if you’re not a natural cook? 

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Introducing Lintie Oliver

(Front cover - has a well-read, vintage look to it).

Clare Mallory’s stand-along novel The Two Linties was first published in 1950 and was never reprinted. Popular with readers who remember it from their childhoods, it demands a high price from book dealers. My reprint of The Two Linties is due to arrive next week and I’m excited and nervous about it all. Advance sales have been fantastic, so next week will be spent printing postage and dropping padded envelopes off at the Post Office. Sales so far show Lintie to be travelling to new homes in France, Germany, Austria, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and America. I suspect she’d like that – she is always keen to try something new and modern air travel would delight her.

Many readers know Clare Mallory for her Merry trilogy, but Lintie isn’t a boarding school girl with a large circle of friends and supportive family. She’s an orphan, with no memory of her parents, living in a poor orphanage with just enough money to feed and clothe the children, but precious little time for love or treating the girls as individuals.

It’s taken me two paragraphs to introduce Lintie, also known as Lynette Hope or Lynette Hope Oliver. She’s an ambitious orphan in the Anne Shirley mould, keen for new experiences and to finish her education at University, rather than leave school at fourteen. She’s a live-wire, revelling in new experiences (cinema, ice-skating, and writing for the local newspaper’s children’s page) as well as being skilled at bending the orphanage rules until they snap. She’s a slim, potentially elegant young girl full of potential. A pair of dark plaits, a broad smile and considerable enthusiasm carries her through life as a young writer.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Jubilee - A London Story

I can't say that I've been actively celebrating the Jubilee this weekend, but I've been watching the pageantry with interest. No Jubilee-themed food in the house this weekend, just a bit more fruit and cake to nibble while watching the celebrations. The service at St Paul's this morning interested me the most. Much of the pageantry - fly-past, marching bands and massed ranks of marching solders are familiar. We don't often see a procession to St Paul's, never mind the spectacular flotilla on Saturday. Two things that are often left to tourists are the river and St Paul's Cathedral. I'm determined to change that - I intend to go along to hear a service and take a riverboat, perhaps from central London down to Greenwich to see the newly-restored Cutty Sark.

My newest book, Five Farthings, was published in 1939. Then, a visit to St Paul's didn't mean an entry charge and city rents were low enough for a flat large enough for a family of four to live in comfort in a flat overlooking the cathedral. I was determined to find a classic and modern view of St Paul's and was lucky enough to find a talented artist whose linocut is used on the front cover. That's a view of London that I hope won't be obscured by skyscrapers or advertising hoardings. I like the timelessness of it and the peace of the stars above the city. The novel is one of the best stories of London, from the bustle of the City, to the elegance of Covent Garden, to the white stucco of Kensington and Piccadilly's lights. Bus routes are still recognisable and enjoyed by tourists and commuters. I think most people will take the front seats on the top deck of a red double decker if given the chance. Finally, there's even a Royal procession. Today's Royal Family took the same route down Fleet Street towards St Paul's. Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose may have been cheered on by the Farthing family, but the bands, the clatter of hooves and the spectacle remain remarkably similar.