Sunday, 9 March 2014

Someone Else's Skin, Thriller of the Month

After a week of excitement - launching my first book, sharing the stage with R4's Jim Naughtie at Dulwich Books, being told that Marnie Rome is like Saga Norén during an interview for Audible (!!) - I opened today's copy of The Observer to find a HUGE review by Alison Flood, in which Someone Else's Skin is described as the Thriller of the Month and "a superbly disturbing debut". The review is pretty much what every writer dreams of: thoughtful, incisive, packed with quotes from the book. My head is still reeling, and I'm so very happy. Alison Flood absolutely *gets* what I was trying to do in the book. What a wonderful way to end an amazing week.
It's the story that really drives this novel, though, and this is a corker: twisty, tricksy and, on occasion, seriously scary. There is a moment when it is almost impossible to keep reading, the scene Hilary has created is so upsetting, but almost impossible not to, the story is so hell-for-leather compelling. This is a rare thing, for any thriller, and extraordinary in a debut, but then this is an extraordinarily good debut, slipping under the skin of the bad things that happen every day and everywhere. "The house was quiet again, and now she remembered how, from the outside, it had looked like every other house in the street." Utterly creepy, without being gratuitous, and an exciting start to what is intended to become a series about Rome.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Someone Else's Skin... finally here

On Friday, at Foyles in Bristol, I thanked my friends and family for all their support (and patience) as I worked to get where I am: a published author with a debut novel on the shelves. It finally hit home, as I was getting changed into my party clobber in the back office where I used to eat my cheese sandwiches when I worked as a bookseller, about four years ago now. The office smelt just the same and triggered an intense memory of being there, somewhat impoverished and with terrible shelf envy as I stacked and sold books, always hoping that one day mine would be amongst them but without real hope, back then, of such a day arriving. Certainly not in such style. Around eighty people rocked up to help me celebrate, and Foyles sold stacks of books, making it their most successful launch ever. I arrived to find a beautiful box of lilies and roses with a good luck card from Caro Ramsay - just one more piece of proof of the generosity and kindness of other writers. I was overwhelmed by the love and support, not just in the room but on Twitter and Facebook; everywhere. One guest asked me to sign a copy of the book for his brother, who is a writer. 'Can you put, "Never give up writing"?' I was asked. I did, and hope that my story of perseverance will strike a chord. You can buy Someone Else's Skin from Foyles or Amazon or from your local bookshop. If you've read it and liked it, please do leave a review/rating.
Yesterday The Guardian ran a piece I wrote about my mother's life as Emperor Hirohito's poster child. So many people commented or tweeted to let me know how much the story moved or touched them. One wrote that my grandmother would be proud of me, and reduced me to tears. So much to be grateful for; I doubt I shall ever stop counting my blessings. You can read the story here.
On Monday, I shall be Dulwich Books with Jim Naughtie, chatting about debut novels. I'm officially on tour now and will post a list of appearances here shortly. I hope to see some of you very soon. In the meantime, thanks again for the support. I really do appreciate it.