Someone get me a freakin’ gold jumpsuit!

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I am a tad excited. Okay, that’s a big fat mahoosive lie! I’ve given myself another excitement headache I’m so completely and utterly chuffed! Because today, a couple of hours ago actually, I did something that once upon a time I would’ve thought was completely out of reach. But then very little is ever really out of reach, I understand this now. Not even body-popping with Johnny Depp in matching gold jumpsuits. (Although that particular fantasy’s on hold after the latest Dior ad put me right off him. Sigh.) Anyway, poppin’ with Johnny’s another issue entirely, and probably not one anyone else needs to know too much about. So, an hour or so ago…

After scribbling my signature on a few cheques for the school bills I owe, drumming lessons, lunch money, typical Monday stuff… I eagerly moved my clammy hands to sign a couple of other bits and bobs I’ve been anxiously watching the letterbox for. Paperwork. Contracts, to be more specific. The business end of an offer totally inconceivable a few years back, my next two book deals.

Say what? Booky what’s? TWO BLOOMIN BOOK DEALS! With publishing colossus, Harlequin/Harper Collins?!

Holy moly, I need an aspirin. This doesn’t happen, does it? Somewhere between loading the dishwasher this morning and burning dinner this evening, people don’t go around signing book deals, do they? Hell yee-HAW they do! The very lucky buggers, anyway. Y’know I might need two aspirin, actually. This really is pretty wonderful. A couple of years ago, when I still fancied Johnny to death, I didn’t have any grasp, whatsoever, on how things would pan out for me and this writing lark. I was given a pretty darned fantastico opportunity, a shot at being an author. I never, ever, expected more than that initial book deal, let alone to still be hanging around two years on indulging in something I love and getting to call it my job, something I’ve managed to perfect saying now while holding a straight face.  Because it’s true! It’s flipping true! It wasn’t a flash in the pan, it’s here… in black and white… with my signature scrawled at the bottom of it. I am a writer. I’m still here! And I’m going to be here for a while yet, thank goodness. Thanks Heavens. Thank the universe. Thank the good folk who buy my stories.

After three novels, lots of ups and downs, the occasional bout of self-doubt and thankfully a whole load of utter contentedness, we’ve come a long way, baby. And we’re still going. Signing on the dotted. Raring to go. Now all I need me is a gold freakin jumpsuit, because Johnny or no, I’ve got me some serious body-poppin to get done tonight 🙂 xx

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A Part Of Me

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Click here to buy…

‘A real talent’ – Lorraine Kelly

‘It caught me by surprise how much I loved it’ – Hello

‘He’s back,’ purred a honeyed voice from the crowd behind me. Another appreciative spectator. I kept my eyes trained on Rohan, wondering how many of these people had known him before his accident, and how incredibly gifted he must have been if losing his leg had made him any lesser an athlete.

Something clicked repeatedly near to my right shoulder. I turned and was greeted by a chunky black zoom lens and a scruffy chignon of blonde hair. She’d flown in from Barcelona a day early.

Megan took a few more action shots of her ex boyfriend before turning her pale blue eyes on me. ‘You really did keep an eye on them, didn’t you?’ She smiled, slipping the camera strap over her arm. She held her hands out to me for her child. I swallowed, knowing that my cheeks were on fire. Lily whimpered as I passed her to her mother, the indentation of my wrinkled dress on her cheek. Megan looked at me as if she could see the imprint Lily had left on me too, and just like that, I was redundant again.

***

After years of heartache, Amy and James’ dream of a happy ever after is looking like a reality.But all these years of waiting for their hopes to be realised has changed them. Can they find their way back to each other or is a hopeful new beginning on the horizon? An exploration of love, heartbreak and finding the ‘one’. A Part Of Me is in turns smart, laugh-out-loud funny and heart-warming – and above all, recognizable to women everywhere.

Letting You Go

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Out now! Click here for info

‘I loved it’ – Hello

‘Moving’ – The Sun

‘A riveting read’ – Sunday Express S Magazine

‘Tense and smart family drama’ – Heat

‘Where the hell were you?’ her father demanded, taking in the state of Alex’s nettle-stung arms and legs. Alex watched him look accusingly at Joseph Finn’s lower body, Finn’s matching affliction where the stingers had got him too. Finn’s shirt was inside out. As if he’d gotten dressed in a hurry.

Alex waited uselessly for her dad to turn that look of furious disbelief back on her. A stab of pain seared like a hot iron through her chest as she saw more devastated tears dancing down her dad’s face.

‘YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE WATCHING MY SON!’

***

What if a tragedy occurred and you only had yourself to blame? How do you move on from the past?

Alex Foster lives a quiet life, avoiding the home she hasn’t visited in eight years. Then her sister Jaime calls. Their mother is sick, and Alex must return. Suddenly she’s plunged back into the past she’s been trying to escape.

Returning to her hometown, memories of the tragic accident that has haunted her and her family are impossible to ignore. Alex still blames herself for what happened to her brother and it’s soon clear that her father holds her responsible too. As Alex struggles to cope, can she ever escape the ghosts of the past?

Hobnobbing Harper Collins Stylee

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Well. I am not a frequenter of fabulous, oyster-lavished* parties, let me tell you, but wowsers… what a truly fabbo do the Harper Collins lot put on last week!

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Last Tuesday was something of a surreal experience for me. Having spoken to several fellow authors that evening, I had the distinct impression that most of them were having a delightfully surreal experience too. Phew. I thought I might be the only one wandering around the V&A in my best frock, mouth slightly agape, bubbly in hand, thinking Whoa, this place is way-HAY bigger than the Blue Banana…

Never mind bigger. The V&A is stunning. The John Madejski Garden provided a slightly more impressive backdrop than the garden parties I’ve thrown at my place, you don’t have to wait so long to get a refill at the V&A either.

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It was perfect. The weather was perfect. The Alexander McQueen exhibit was perfect. Everything was pretty darned perfect. Fair enough, as someone who spends most of her life in jeans and flip flops darting from one health-hazard to the next while my 11 month old son tests my reflexes, I was already pretty excited about the whole affair, the invitation landing on my hall floor had kicked that whimageeel into motion a few weeks before.

After months slogging it out on my third novel, the prospect of a full scrub-up and an evening schmoozing with the likes of David Walliams** was nothing short of giddying. However, it wasn’t until I’d slurped a couple of cocktails with my editor at the Mandarin Oriental and flip-flopped my way down to the venue (heels were in handbag, obvs) that I realised how lucky I was to be there.     

By all accounts, the annual Harper Collins Summer Party is a pretty exclusive bash. Authors published by them (or indeed like myself, published by Harlequin – now part of the HC group) must have a book due for release during the same year to get a toe in the door, I’m told. I only hope they’ll have me, and my toes, back again next year… the chances of which are probably not helped by the fact that I accidentally managed to tip a glass of bubbly over the beautiful black silk dress of one of my colleagues. Groan.

Oh, and I also said something to the MD of Harlequin about feeling like I’d gotten my ‘big girl pants’… in the authory sense, of course, but still. Double groan.

Social ineptitude aside, I had the BEST time. One of the first people I spoke to was an enviably-attractive blonde called Rosie who I’d practically pounced on because she was sporting a lovely little baby bump which obviously bonded us in some exclusive way, I tried to explain, simply because I’ve recently added another sprog to our own clan, plus I’m always a little awed by women who manage to look anything other than the bloated sweaty mess I had when my pregnancy met the summer months.

I probably bored her senseless but she was very lovely and polite and didn’t at all show it if I had. Trust me, this was something I gave a lot of thought to later on having learned that Rosie is the editor of Hello magazine. Agh. At least I didn’t utter I carried a watermelon… I don’t think?! No offence to my colleague but thank goodness it wasn’t the editor of Hello‘s dress I lobbed my champers at. Shudder.

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Amid the fun and frolics though, despite my excitability, I did find myself having a brief moment of calm clarity. Not so long ago, while idly pondering how people ever actually got a chance at being ‘proper’ published writers, I felt as if I was stuck on one side of a very high wall, without the faintest clue how to bust through it and become one of the privileged minority I imagined on the other side, writing their novels, mingling with other equally privileged beings at delightful gatherings in London. It’s not all like that, as any author will say. Writing is mostly about late nights (not the fun kind), baggy clothes and baggier eyelids.

But last Tuesday night, for a few wonderful hours, there was no question about it. I was on the other side of that wall.

So keep writing, writers. Because you never know what may come x

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Think I was the only one who looked like a snap-happy tourist. Again, groan.

*I’m a bit of a philistine. I didn’t brave an oyster. My best friend warned me ‘it’s like licking phlegm off a turtle’. She’s a nurse. I trust her about this stuff.

**I didn’t schmooze with David Walliams, I didn’t even realise he was there until the next morning – doh.

Well hello again, world!

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Hola, amigos! So, my best intentions to keep an up-to-date blog have erm… well, the less said about that the better I reckon. What’s a few long months between friends, right? In my defence, I have been a very busy gal. I think I might hactually be a bloody caterpillar in fact, given that I disappeared into my bedroom some time around September and have only just emerged again, dazed and blinking (and not at all butterfly-like, I should mention) with plenty of empty chocolate wrappers, very hairy legs and, wait for it… ONLY A FINISHED BLEEDIN’ MANUSCRIPT!

WAHOOOO!

It’s done. My new novel. My new bloody novel! I’ve just written my 3rd book set to hit the shelves this September, what kind of craziness is this?!

Did I mention I had a baby in August? As in, gave birth to a whopper and have spent nearly every second since within nuzzling distance of him? How’s that for giving yourself a writing challenge? I tell you now, for someone who can’t jog for more than a minute without suffering that coppery-taste-in-the-mouth thing while violently rasping for air, I am pretty darned impressed with my new SAS-like endurance skillz. I kid you not, a girl feels pretty hardcore after writing till 2am, doing the 4am breastfeeding zombie thing and then crawling out of bed again to get the bigger kids to school.

WARNING

Don’t try this at home, folks.

But we’re through it, thank goodness. Normal life, whatever brand of chaos that is, is steadily creeping back down the garden path of Casa Knight. Jesse Boy is now nine months into a fairly awesome life thus far, I’ve caught up with my other two marvellous sons (and Game of Thrones, obviously… that yearning was nearly killing me), I’ve pinned the husband down and snogged his face off a few times and after taking the last fortnight off doing anything even remotely authory, I am relieved to announce that this mama is now fully-coloured, trimmed of split-ends, well-rested and smooth-legged once more. For now anyway.

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And I’m not the only one getting a good sprucing. Letting You Go is pretty much going through the same treatment over at the publisher’s. Basically I give them a hairy-legged, wobbly-bummed manuscript with a hair do like a bird’s nest, and they gently suggest which bits to prune, tighten and gloss.

Which means… oh yes, we’re neearly there! Nearly at the bit I dig the most! The part of the process where I can sit back and catch my breath and almost – almost – feel ready to laugh off all the endless nights I utterly loathed my plot ideas and pulled them apart and hated everything all that fretful, teary effort amounted to before somehow working out (with the help of a few editorial rescue missions) how to pull it all back together again.

Jeez, it’s ace to be out of that stage, I can tell ya. It’s exhausting enough just thinking about it.

But!

Boy oh boy, is it worth it.

After a few fallings out, I love my characters again. I love their story too and, dare I say it, I miss writing/reading about them. It all feels a bit weird without them featuring in my day to day, it feels a bit like we’ve had demanding house-guests for the last few months, eating our food, getting under our skin, stealing our family time. I’ve been desperate for them to bugger off and leave us alone only now I’ve recharged my batteries I quite fancy a few glasses of wine with them again. I hope I still feel that way when the author copies rock up in the post, I guess I’ll find out soon enough when I have a brand new spangly copy of my brand new spangly book clasped in these arthritic, nail-bitten hands of mine. I think it’ll be okay. I hope other people will think so too. And I don’t think it will be long after those advance copies arrive on my doorstep before I’m cracking on with Book 4, because holding your own book with your own name on the front is a pretty cool reminder of why the hard slog is totally worth it.

But it’s also bloody great being back in the real world for a while!

Anouska 🙂