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A happy dance, a very special offer and a date for your diaries (Yes, my book club is back)

A happy dance

I hate to wish new year away, but I know I’m not the only one who was glad to see the back of January. Fortunately, February kicked off with some very good news indeed.

At the Stroke of Nine O’Clock had been selected for a coveted Historical Society Society Editor’s Choice flag, which puts it in very illustrious company. What’s more, the review is in. (Drumroll, please.)

‘This is the first time I have come across this author, and what a revelation! She writes stunning prose that keeps the pages turning.’ Read more.

And if that weren’t enough, the Society will promote the book on social media over the coming months.

Second Chapter gets a shiny new look

One of the key advantages of publishing independently is being in the creative driving seat. If something is no longer working, you simply change it. I loved Andrew Candy’s design, but when viewed as a thumbnail, it just wasn’t obvious that the product was a ‘box-set’. And so I’ve made a change.

To celebrate the launch of the new cover, I’ve reduced the price of the box-set. From 4 – 11 February you can snap up your copy for only £2.99/$2.99 (offer applies in the UK/US only). That’s less than the price of any of the three standalone novels in the box-set. 

Why ‘Second Chapter’?

Quite simply, because the collection represents the second chapter of my writing career. My first novel Half-Truths and White Lies won the Daily Mail First Novel Award. Winning was surreal. Because I was on my own, there was no one to ask, “Hey, did that just happen?” I put the phone down and called back, just to be sure. The weeks that followed were heady. This was my bite at the apple. I was told I was going to be the Next Big Thing.

Except that I wasn’t.

In the summer of 2009, just months after I celebrated the publication of Half-truths came my reality check. Transworld exercised their right of ‘first refusal’ of my follow-up. They loved A Funeral for an Owl, but it wasn’t ‘women’s fiction’. Never having considered that I was writing exclusively for women, I hadn’t stopped to consider the implications of being published under their Black Swan imprint. Without realising it, I had been pigeon-holed – and my new novel didn’t fit.

‘Quality means doing it right when no one else is looking.’ Henry Ford

Rejection had one unexpected silver lining. Over the next four years, I produced two further novels. Had I been under contract, I would have been chasing deadlines. Instead, with the luxury of time, I added layers to plots, depth to characters and a real sense of time and place.

November 2012 proved to be a major turning point. I attended a self-publishing conference and experienced one of those Eureka! moments. I’d found my tribe. Authors who’d walked away from six-figure deals because they didn’t like how their books were being packaged, established authors who had been dropped by their publishers after their latest book didn’t sell quite so well, innovative authors whose work doesn’t fit the market, cross-genre authors who market themselves as a brand… Within a month I had published my second and third novels. Less than a year later, I published a third. Second Chapter contains the results of my exploration into going it alone.

Book club is back

Many of you got in touch to say how much you enjoyed the recording of my December book club, and wanted to know if I plan to hold another one. The answer is yes! Put the date in your diary. It will be on Saturday 27 February 2021 at 6.00pm UK time.  

As well as answering general writing questions, we’ll be discussing A Funeral for an Owl. I have to admit to a certain bias. It’s my favourite of all my novels. If you haven’t read it yet, it is available either as a standalone novel (via all e-book retailers) or as part of the Second Chapter box-set (via Amazon only).

The book club meeting is free to attend, but please can I ask you to register using the following link:

To join on the day, you’ll need the Meeting ID and Passcode which will be sent to you after your register.

I hope to see as many of you there as possible!