I have written 48,908 words of a new book. Every now and again, usually when I’m lying in bed, I wonder if they’re any good. I presume all writers experience self-doubt from time to time – at least, I hope they do! The new book is quite different from anything that’s gone before it. It’s darker and edgier and grittier – I think it is anyway. I hope it is. I’m hoping I can pull it off. It’s going to be shorter than the other books too – I’d say it’ll come to a natural end in another 10,000 words or so, so it’ll be more of a novella than a novel. I have no publishing deal for it: this is something I decided to try as a kind of sideways step from my usual publisher commitments, so I’m just hoping someone wants it when it’s finished. And just to give you an idea of what it’s about – it’s set in the aftermath of a murder, two years afterwards, and it’s located in a small rural community in Ireland, where everyone knows everyone else. There are six main characters, drawn predominantly from two local families, the family of the murdered person and the family of the person who was convicted of the murder, and the book will span just six days, beginning on a Monday and ending on the following Saturday. Now that’s enough to keep you going – fingers crossed that it will see the light of day sometime!
In other news, the sequel to One Summer has officially been named: say hello to After the Wedding. The cover has been chosen too, but I must check with my editor before I show it here – not sure if it’s been finalised yet, and she may not want me flashing it around quite yet. I like it, though, it’s very fresh and colourful – and not too pink at all! I’ll put it up here as soon as I get the go-ahead. Must find out when publication is too, not sure when exactly it’s going to hit the shelves but it’ll be sometime in the spring. Will keep you all posted. Otherwise I’m doing a bit of school visiting to talk to the children about what it’s like to be a writer, and to answer their questions (How much money do you get? Do you know any famous writers? Will you put us into your next book? etc!) I love these visits – it’s great to get a break from writing, and of course I have a soft spot for little people. I visited a playschool last week to tell some stories, and the children were so sweet, all wanting to give me hugs and kisses! And of course I have my regular storytelling at my local library, first Saturday of each month, another lovely break from the laptop.
And just in case you’re wondering about the picture I’ve chosen for this post, it’s the box of books I got when Something in Common hit the shelves as a paperback at the beginning of the month. I’ve had no sales reports yet, but it’s been spotted all over the place – I have my spies everywhere! – and I’ve seen it myself in lovely top shelf positions in Dunnes and Tesco. Fingers crossed!
So I’d better get back to work, hoping to get first draft of the new book done by Christmas. Hope you’re all looking forward to the holiday. I’ll be cooking the turkey for seven this year, God help them all!
Lordy, just realised I do not have ONE SINGLE PHOTO from the most original book launch in the world. It happened on Thursday night, and I took no photos. None. In my defence, I was rather busy for most of the evening, wearing my posh frock, making a speech, being charming, drinking wine – and listening to The Bookshop Band, who sang lots of songs. Including a song they wrote after reading Something in Common, which was very sweet indeed. I’ve been promised a recording of it, so I’ll post it as soon as it comes, right after I figure out how to post a recording. Instead of a photo of the launch, which took place in the hallowed surroundings of the Royal Irish Academy of Music (The Organ Room, no less), I’m putting up a shot of the band. Poppy, Beth and Ben come from the Bath area of England, and are currently doing an Irish tour – we were their first gig. Check it out here https://www.facebook.com/events/433981563363465/ if you’re living in Ireland and would like a quirky evening.
So Something in Common is well and truly launched, and today I heard it’s been spotted in a bookshop; my new baby’s out there in the big bad world. Now the waiting begins to see how it goes down – cue nail-biting and tossing-instead-of-sleeping for the next couple of weeks.
In other news, I’m working away on the sequel to One Summer. Progress has been interrupted lately with the whole launch business, but it’s back to work now until I get to The End, sometime in the next few months, all going well.
Have a happy summer (or winter, if you live down under the equator.) Roisin xx
When I was casting around for a theme for my new novel, I was having coffee with my mother in her house one morning – and I’m not sure how it happened, but the subject of Mam’s one-time penfriend Maura came up. And the second it did, I knew I’d found my theme.
Here’s the story. When Mam was a young married woman (and I was still a twinkle in my father’s eye) she read a letter from another woman in the Irish Independent. The subject matter was something to do with teaching – we’ve never pinned Mam down as to what exactly Maura was saying – and Mam, being an ex-teacher (she’d had to give up when she got married) disagreed with the point being made and wrote to Maura to tell her as much.
Long story short, they corresponded for over twenty years. Mam lived in Tipperary and later moved to Limerick; Maura was in Dublin throughout. They never met.
Maura’s letters were priceless. We all looked forward to them. They were written on the backs of used envelopes, bits of cardboard boxes and scraps of whatever paper seemed to be to hand. Reading them involved piecing the various bits together, like a verbal jigsaw. And the content was another matter: her life seemed to be made up of one drama after another. I won’t go into detail here in case any member of her family happens to read this, but we relished the catastrophes and calamities that each letter brought.
In due course the letters stopped – ‘they just fizzled out,’ Mam says – and some years after that my father spotted Maura’s death notice in the paper. End of an era. They’d shared so much for so long, and had never come face to face.
It was inspiring. I was inspired. And even though Helen and Sarah aren’t a bit like Mam or Maura, I hope Something in Common captures some of the intrigue, and the sort-of poignancy, of a long-established friendship conducted solely on paper.
And I hope Maura would approve.