Launch day

 

So here I am, hitting refresh on Amazon every five seconds. I've doen this five times now and it doesn't get any less stressful and exciting. The Truth About Gemma Grey is available in the US and almost available in the UK, and I don't think I will have any fingernails left by the end of the day. 


Amazon US
Amazon UK

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The Truth About Gemma Grey – coming soon!

Only a week to go…

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Look at this gorgeous cover!

Well, I think it is, anyway! Here it is: the cover of The Truth About Gemma Grey. So excited to be sharing this. 

 

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The Truth About Gemma Grey

It's been a busy few weeks here at Sophie Ranald Towers. I have put the finishing touches to The Truth About Gemma Grey, the cover has been finalised (and it is gorgeous!), the proofreader has worked her magic on the manuscript, and it has now winged its way off to Luxembourg, where Amazon's crack team of formatters will turn it into an ebook and a paperback ready for the launch in June.

So what's the book about? Here goes…

Her boyfriend dumped her. She broke the internet. Now can she mend her heart?

Life isn’t working out quite as Gemma had planned. Her breakthrough job turns out to involve writing clickbait articles about cats. Her boyfriend Jack is off travelling the world with his glamorous BFF and her mum’s social life puts Gemma’s own to shame.

Then, after a late-night online rant, Gemma’s YouTube channel goes viral and everything changes. Suddenly, she’s living the dream – only it’s not turning out entirely as she imagined.

Gemma realises she’ll have to choose between fame, real love and being true to herself – because she can’t have it all. Or can she?

Want to see the cover? Unfortunately I can't show it to you yet – but it will be revealed at the beginning of June. Instead, here's a picture of Purrs. You're welcome. 

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Events, dear reader, events

A year ago, I started writing my fifth novel. Having published four books in two years, I was confident that this one would be as quick and easy (easy! Ha – never believe a writer who tells you writing is easy!) a gestation as the previous ones. But it was not to be.

As everyone knows, 2016 didn’t go according to plan (David Cameron, I’m looking at you). It was an eventful year for the world, to say the least, and it was pretty gruelling for me on a personal level, too. I’m writing this from the comfort of the living room in our new house. It looks like this.

We moved into our new house just before Christmas, almost a year after we bought it – and it’s still a building site. Everyone tells us that it will be worth it in the end, and I have every confidence that they are right, but having the builders in is not exactly conducive to sitting down and letting creative ideas flow effortlessly from brain to keyboard.

All this meant that some of the ideas that I had when I started writing the book just didn’t work any more by the time I’d finished it. So I had to undertake some fairly major rewrites early this year, including changing one of the major plot points of the novel #tinyviolin.

Annoying, right? Right. But I’m proud to say that I gritted my teeth and got on with it, and The Truth About Gemma Grey is finally finished. Publication is set for early May, and I am incredibly excited about it.

I’ll be updating my website and Facebook page with updates as the launch date approaches, sharing the cover and some extracts from the book, as well as some video posts, too. If you’d like to be kept up to date, and have the chance to read an advance copy, please sign up to my mailing list.

And in the meantime, enjoy the rest of this lovely sunny Sunday.

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Never work with children or animals

Unless they’re Purrs. Today I persuaded her (through the magic of Dreamies) to star in my first ever book trailer. Isn’t she adorable?

Those Dreamies don’t come cheap though. To keep Purrs in treats, why not buy the book?

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Saying goodbye

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I've spent almost six months this year freelancing at a very lovely communicaions agency in Covent Garden. I started there in February, when winter still had London in its grip and my new novel, You Can't Fall in Love With Your Ex (Can You?) was just beginning to take shape in my mind. I can't remember when I'd decided that my heroine, Laura, had been a professional ballet dancer as a young woman, but as I made my way to work each morning, or browsed the shops at lunchtime, or took a shortcut through the Royal Opera House on my way to lust over shiny things in the Apple Store, her story became clearer and clearer to me.

When I finished my first stint of work there in Spring, Laura's past and present lives were ready to be written. I won't pretend that the novel was an easy one to write, but I got it done even though there were times – familiar to any writer, I'm sure – when I felt as if it would never be finished. By the end of it, I felt as if I knew Laura, Felix, Jonathan and the other characters in the story as well as my own friends. I knew the route Laura had taken to work every day. I knew where she and Jonathan live (I lived nearby myself, many years ago) and the supermarket where she did her shopping. I knew the park where she unexpectedly encounters Felix for the first time, and the restaurant where she sees him again.

And, when I returned to gainful employment in Summer, "The End" finally written and the arduous process of editing, rewriting, proofreading, cover designs and Kindle conversion upon me, Laura was still with me all the time. Now that I knew how her story ended (although if she were a real person, it would be a new beginning as much as an ending), I felt a kind of nostalgia for the past I'd created for her. Here was the flat where she, Mel and Roddy lived. These were the chewinggum-splattered pavements she saw through her tears when it all went wrong. This was the route she and Mel walked through Soho to window-shop on Oxford Street. Here, just up the road from Itsu, was the dance boutique where she bought her leotards and tights.

I felt nostalgic for Felix, too – like Laura, I wondered whether things could have turned out differently between them. But you can't change the past, and I couldn't change the ending I'd written. Publication date was upon me and You Can't Fall in Love… wasn't mine any more – it was ready to be launched into the world and belong to the people who read it.

Then, of course, my focus shifted to promoting the novel, to the first reviews appearing on Amazon (overwhelmingly positive, to my delight), to watching the book rise and fall in the sales rankings. My day job was busy, too – mostly I dashed out on Mondays to Holbon to stock up on salad for the week, and ate lunch at my desk; there was no time for mooning about in Covent Garden.

And, suddenly, Laura wasn't there any more. Like the heroines of my previous novels, Ellie, Pippa and Stella, who'd occupied my thoughts and whose voices I heard in my head every day while i was writing, she'd fallen silent. After months of knowing her intimately, I no longer knew her at all, because her life – if a fictional character can be said to have one – was being lived outside the pages of my book.

It's a strange feeling. I'm sure all writers are familiar with it – perhaps that's why so many people feel compelled to return in sequels to the characters they've created and nurtured. I won't be writing about Laura again, though. Her story is told; she has her ending, and I hope it's a happy one.

I'm back living the life of a novelist for the time being. The cat is sleeping on my lap as I type; I can go running at lunchtime, potter in the kitchen making chutney, and engage in a host of other displacement activities instead of actually writing. But, as I peel apples, stroke Purrs or jog along the river, I think I can hear another voice starting to speak to me. There's going to be another book, fairly soon – another cast of characters for me to listen to, labour over, love and eventually leave behind.

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What’s in a name?

I guess I'm about to find out. Long before I started writing The Frog Prince, I'd decided on its title – but, to be honest, part of me expected it to be published under a different name, as happened with It Would Be Wrong to Steal My Sister's Boyfriend (Wouldn't it?). However, to my surprise, my lovely agent liked the title The Frog Prince, dismissing my concerns that readers might think it was a book about a French aristocrat rather than a Silicon Roundabout entrepreneur, so we went ahead with it and the gorgeous cover was designed around it.

The Frog Prince cover final

Now, however, with a new book in the pipeline, we've decided to relaunch it with a new title, one that fits better with the slightly cheeky, slightly provocative titles of my other novels. It feels like a big, scary step – but then, the beauty of publishing in a digital world is that one is free to make changes like this, even six months post-publication.

And, as it turns out, I'm in good company. Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises was originally published under a different name: Fiesta, by which it's still known in some translations. Philip Roth's Portnoy's Compaint was originally called Wacking Off, which quite frankly would have saved a lot of people a lot of time had it stood. And more recently, the highly successful indie author Joanna Penn has republished a series of her novels with new titles.

So what's it going to be called now, you ask?

WWTMAM_eBook-7

Voila! Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire? will be appearing in in its new incarnation on Amazon in the next few days. Exciting times!

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Going global

I know, right? But I'm incredibly excited to have seen both the German and Czech editions of It Would Be Wrong… published this year. And just look how pretty they are!

germanyczech cover

I did an actual "Squee!" when I discovered I was going to be Sophie Ranaldova. It Would Be Wrong is also going to be published in Italy and Brazil later in the year, and I've accepted an offer for a Czech edition of A Groom With a View, too. In other exciting news, The Frog Prince has been selected as a Daily Deal in Australia, so my readers downunder can buy it at a bargain price this weekend.

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Chicks, chick lit and the Booker

Here I am again banging the drum about women writers and readers, this time for the Huffington Post.

On 17 October, The Times published an interview with the 2013 Man Booker Prize winner, originally under the headline "Does Eleanor Catton's Booker mean the death of chick lit?". The story, by Kate Saunders, made the point that, "She's a chick, but nobody could mistake her work for any kind of chick-lit." It's hard to know whether that's more insulting to Catton, to people who write fiction for women, or to their readers. I'll settle for thinking it's offensive to all women, actually.

Continue reading

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