How are you all? I have some wonderful news to share - 'The Perfume Garden' is going to be published in the US by Thomas Dunne/St Martin's in 2014. I am over the moon. When the news came in, the pilot was in Bangkok, so I took the children to Johnny Rocket's diner to celebrate - it is about as close to a real US diner as you can get here, with jukeboxes on the table and the thick shakes they love that give you brain freeze. The culture here is at least a cosmopolitan one - being able to do your grocery shopping at Dean & Deluca's, or take the children for apple pie a la mode is a saving grace.
The children have grown un-English living here for three years - they both have American accents, all their cultural references come from the US. It's probably become obvious over the years of this blog that I love America. I've just written a book set in the 1970s and gave the ten year old girl all the exotic obsessions I had - growing up in the UK I loved Nancy Drew, DC Comics, desperately wanted 'sneakers' like the Three Investigators rather than Dunlop Green Flash pumps.
We've been lucky enough to explore the country many times. Our road trips around New England, California have been some of the best of my life. We travelled around the world with hand luggage, and I loved the US leg of the trip - the liberty of setting off with only the vaguest idea where you're heading, not sure where you'll end up that night. There is still a romance to Route 66, to diners housed in old Airstream Caravans, to hummingbirds in Ojai, to eating fresh lobster on a beach at night with an ocean stretching between us and 'home'.
The pilot's parents lived in New York for many years - I still remember the first summer there after graduating. One day we walked the length of the city from the World Trade Centre back up to their apartment near the UN. It was a great day - one that sticks in your memory and your heart. I still remember passing the iconic Flatiron building, and to think that 'The Perfume Garden' has found a home there with such a great publisher is - well, it's wonderful. New York was everything I hoped it would be - jazz clubs, and cigar bars, MoMA, Zabars. I loved the road trips up to the Hamptons and Cape Cod, listening to the same few tapes over and over again - Simon & Garfunkel's Central Park concert, the Steve Miller Band. As I wrote in my first (unpublished), novel ‘In America, even the road names have a sense of possibility,’ he used to say, ‘highway, freeway …’
So, thank you to all the American readers of this blog for your support, and to the publishing professionals who have made this possible - I am beyond thrilled that this book is going to be published in the US. And thank you to all of you who downloaded the free prequel - over the weekend it was #2 in the UK, #2 in Canada, #1 in Germany and #17 in the US in short fiction. I've been trying to think of a way to keep it free for those who want to read it (the Amazon promotion only allows 5 free days as an author - from Tuesday it's going to click up to the minimum price I could set, 99 cents). Once the tie-in period is over, (Amazon likes to keep it exclusive ...), I'll publish on Smashwords for free to make the Amazon price come down to zero. Meanwhile, I've put 'The Last Rose of Summer' on this blog, and on my main website as a free downloadable pdf - so read, share, enjoy - and thank you.
This week, Historical Fiction Virtual Tours takes over the book tour, and the links are all here. There are some great sites taking part, so do join in. Meanwhile, I'm flying to London to hear my great literary hero, James Salter, talk at the literary festival on the Southbank. Can't wait - and shall report back. Have a great week, and happy writing x