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Showing posts from March, 2012

Books through my lens #16

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Hall's Bookshop, Royal Tunbridge Wells, December 2010.

Green Books: Greening the Publishing Industry

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Welcome to the third post in my series about Green Books!

In my last post about Green Books, I looked at how individuals can share books and so cut down on the carbon footprint of their reading habits. In this post, I'll briefly look at what the publishing industry is doing.

Books are made of paper which is made from trees. More than 30 million trees are cut down every year to make books in the USA. Currently under 10% of the paper used in the US book publishing industry comes from recycled sources*. These statistics are quite sobering when you consider them!

Eco-Libris is an online campaign aiming to reduce the carbon footprint of reading. You can read a lot about the publishing industry's attempts to become greener on their website here. The Eco-Libris blog is full of useful information about taking a greener approach to printing and publishing.

The great thing about Eco-Libris is that they work on so many different levels. They collaborate with book clubs, book shops, publishe…

Kimberly Menozzi: If You Love It, Write It

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How many times do we, as writers, get an idea and discard it because we don't think anyone else will love it as much as we do? I'm sure it happens more often than we'd care to admit. As writers, we want to believe that we're devoted to the ideas which come to us, that we'll fight for our right to tell any story, any time. However, I suspect there are many stories which don't see the light of day thanks to a fear that they might not be able to find an audience, or that we won't be able to do the story justice.

I know I have set aside more than one novel in progress because I lost the passion for the story. I've stopped writing stories because they suddenly didn't feel right, or because I felt no-one would be interested by the time I finished it.

And then, there was one I didn't even begin because I feared it would be a waste of time in spite of my excitement for it. All the same, it wouldn't leave me alone, and kept knocking at the door of my i…

In conversation with... Scarlett Bailey

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Hello Scarlett! First of all, congratulations on the release of The Night Before Christmas. Can you please tell us what it is about?

A: Hello! Thanks very much, The Night Before Christmas is about Lydia, who heads off to The Lake District with her boyfriend and soon to be fiancé, hoping to share the perfect Christmas with her group of friends. But things take an unexpected turn when she finds out that her boyfriend is planning to propose to her, a blast from the past turns up to rock her world and she meets a mysterious and very attractive stranger.

Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing or did it take unexpected turns as the characters grew on the page?

A: I did have the plot planned out, which I think is a good idea if you don’t want to get lost along the way – there are a lot of words in a novel, and I think its probably easy to take the wrong path. Having said that, a good deal of the plot and the characters evolved during the writing spontaneously and I …

Books through my lens #15

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An exhibit at the Dutch Resistance Museum in Amsterdam. How useful books can be!

Erinna Mettler: tales from Brighton

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Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Erinna Mettler, author of Starlings, who has kindly agreed to delight the readers of Book After Book with tales from the unique city of Brighton (and Hove!)...

The Starling Stag Do

There are a few weeks left to catch one of Brighton’s most spectacular performances and the good thing is you don’t even have to buy a ticket. If you head down to Brighton Pier on any evening in winter you will see the beautiful ballet of our visiting starlings. The birds come down here from their breeding grounds in Scandinavia to sit out the winter in our relatively warmer climate. It’s like they’re on an extended stag weekend, taking a few months out on the town to eye up the talent, binge on the local produce and go dancing.

Every evening as day turns into dusk the birds congregate around the piers in huge groups much like those men and women with L-plates and fairy wings who throng the city’s streets. As the birds collect they begin to swirl across the skies in massive…

An evening with Sarah Rayner

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If the one of the major booksellers on the high street and online wants to be the exclusive seller of your latest book for one whole month, it’s safe to say that you’ve made it.

When that bookseller is Waterstones and the writer in question is Sarah Rayner, author of the much-loved One Moment, One Morning and the most recent The Two Week Wait, I can’t but agree. If this whole scenario includes cupcakes, cocktails served in teacups and brilliant conversation, I’m totally sold!On the 2nd of February I was among the lucky members of the audience gathered at the Brighton branch of Waterstones to enjoy a literary evening in the company of Alexandra Heminsley and the much acclaimed Sarah Rayner. The two authors, both based in Brighton, delighted all people present with smart questions and interesting answers respectively. The exchange was a pleasure to witness and I’m sure that I wasn’t the only one to leave the bookshop feeling an even closer connection to these amazing novels.
If - for some…

Book review: Bereft

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By Chris Womersley
Published by Quercus

Bereft is the second novel by Australian journalist and literary reviewer Chris Womersley. As the author explained in an exclusive piece written for Book After Book, inspiration for him is “a series of small insights that coalesce over several months – sometimes years – into a bunch of characters living in a particular time and place, each of them with their own set of problems”.

In Bereft, the sense of time and place is particularly clear. The year is 1919, the Great War has ended and the Spanish flu epidemic is raging across Australia as Quinn Walker returns to his hometown of Flint, in New South Wales. His return from war, however, is not anticipated with joy and elation. In fact, nobody is waiting for him.

Apart from the fact that he is believed to have died at the front, Quinn hasn’t set foot in Flint since he was accused of the murder of his younger sister ten years earlier. In town he is known as “the murderer” and even his own father has vow…

Lynn Shepherd on... Judging a book by its cover

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It’s been a week since Tom-All-Alone’s was published and I’ve just started what will be quite a few months of library talks and signings and book festivals. I did the same thing in 2010, when Murder at Mansfield Park came out, and I love doing it – it’s a delight to talk to readers, and there’s always at least one question that takes you completely by surprise (this week it was ‘What typeface is your book printed in?’). Likewise there’s one particular question I almost always get asked in one form or another, and that’s the one about the cover design.

People are fascinated about the process of choosing a jacket, and how much influence an author has in the look of their book. The first thing to say at this point is that unless you’re a very famous – and therefore a very powerful – writer you get very little actual say in your covers. The standard publishing contract requires your publisher to consult with you about the proposed design, but there’s nothing to compel them to take your tho…

In conversation with... Erinna Mettler

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Hello Erinna! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of your first novel Starlings. Can you tell us what it is about?

A: Thank you Silvia. Starlings is a set of 18 episodes taking place in Brighton. At first they appear to be unconnected but as you read it becomes clear they are very much linked together. The stories span decades and familial generations and cover quite a few of Brighton’s cultural and historical events, World War 2, the mod/rocker riots and the burning of the pier to name a few. It’s about life in a city and how every incident and every individual is related to everything else.

Some of your short stories were included in anthologies but this is your first published work of fiction. How does it feel to be a published author? What kind of journey led you to publication?

A: It’s amazing seeing your book on the shelves in a bookshop next to novels written by ‘real’ authors. Starlings is in the local books section in Brighton Waterstones next to al…

Book review: Carnival for the Dead

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By David Hewson
Published by Macmillan

Having recently returned from a weekend in Venice, I couldn’t help but being drawn to David Hewson’s latest book, Carnival for the Dead – A Venetian Mystery.

My choice was purely based on the fact that I liked the cover as – to my utter shame – I must confess that I had never heard of this author before. Nor of his bestselling crime books featuring detective Nic Costa, which are now in development for a series of TV movies set in Rome.

I was lucky: firstly because this is a standalone book with only vague references to the Costa series and secondly because this is probably going to be Hewson’s last Italian novel, as he has now been asked to produce two works of fiction based on the famous TV show The Killing, set in Copenhagen.

Back to the book… Teresa Lupo, a forensic pathologist from Rome, travels to Venice to look for her aunt Sofia, who seems to have vanished in thin air. Not finding any clues as to her whereabouts, she turns for help to the retir…