#WouldLoveThisBook – spreading book love!

After the success of #LoveThisBook on Twitter, I asked twitterers which books they are most excited to read in 2017. Again, the response was huge – with more conversations, delighted authors and general book excitement…

I’ve really loved talking about books on Twitter this weekend! As with #LoveThisBook, #WouldLoveThisBook brought a wealth of book recommendations, with people tweeting their own wishlists and others discovering titles to add to theirs.

The list is still growing – and you can add your most-wanted books for 2017 by tweeting me @wurdsmyth, using the hashtag #WeLoveThisBook. But I’ve Storified the current selection as nominated by readers and authors today – I’ll keep updating it as more tweets arrive. Get your book wishlists ready and happy reading!

#LoveThisBook – a lovely day on Twitter

One of the things I love most about social media, when it works positively – particularly on Twitter – is that it gives us infinite scope for spontaneous fun. This weekend, annoyed by list after snobby list of ‘2016 Best Books’ in the literary media (blatantly ignoring anything daring to be ‘popular’), I asked people on Twitter to tell me which books they loved reading this year. Any genre, any age, any book.

What followed was a whole day of bookish loveliness.

Using the #LoveThisBook hashtag, people tweeted their favourite books – a really varied mix of well-known and not-so-well-known titles, across the genres from popular fiction to YA, childrens to non-fiction, series to literary, self-published to traditionally published. Famous authors, debut authors, new authors, established authors – all were represented. I was blown away by the response and had so much fun co-ordinating the discussions.

And then, something really lovely happened. Delighted authors began to reply, leading to heartfelt exchanges and thanks flying back and forth. As an author I know how impossibly wonderful it is to hear that someone loved my books – so to see authors meeting their readers in the #LoveThisBook chat was such a treat. Added to this, tweeters began to chat with other readers, discussing books they’d read and recommending others. After so much darkness and anger on Twitter in recent months, it was fantastic to see people united by a love of books, sharing something positive.

I’ve Storified the discussion HERE – so if you’re looking for your next read you might just find it there! You can still join the fun by tweeting your favourites. Just use the hashtag #LoveThisBook and tweet me @wurdsmyth. Happy reading!

Strange times and Silver Linings

Next Thursday, my eighth novel, SEARCHING FOR A SILVER LINING is published. It’s the book I am most proud of, not least because I worked so hard to make it a truly memorable book. It is also personally special to me because of the happy hours I spent talking to my Dad about his memories of being a teenager in the 1950s while I was writing it. But I never thought during the many months spent writing my book that it would be published without Dad seeing it.
   
But that’s what is happening. A week ago today, I lost my lovely Dad.

 
Still, as I write that sentence, I can’t quite believe it. Life without him is going on – because life does – but the world is a little dimmer and quieter without his presence and infectious sense of humour. The bottom line is that I write what I write because I inherited Dad’s love of comedy and his natural storytelling skill. My earliest memories are of Dad making me laugh. He would make my toys move and talk with funny voices, and tell me stories that made me giggle. He made books come alive for me and my sister and often recited favourite tales verbatim on our walks. So much of what I now do for a living can be traced back to those special times.
When he died, I didn’t want to think about my writing, my stories. They suddenly seemed trivial. All I could think of were his stories – the ones he’d tell over and over again, the ones we had now lost. How do you carry on promoting a new book when life floors you like this?

I’m not sure I know the answer.

But here’s what I do know. My amazing, talented, hilarious Dad had one solution whenever life chucked a spanner in his path: create something to redress the balance. When he was unexpectedly made redundant at the age of 56, Dad sought something creative in response: he joined a TV and Film Extras agency. 

Over the years he had a ball, acting alongside famous people from Scarlett Johansson, Johnny Depp and Michael Sheen, to Catherine Tate, Patrick Stewart and Philip Glenister. And from each new job came new stories – hilarious, stitch-inducing tales of the crazy things he was asked to do. Such as posing with a bolshy duck in The Village, or running up a hill with a Zimmer frame in Hustle. Or the time while filming The Libertine when he asked Johnny Depp what his previous acting job was (Dad’s had been Emmerdale, of which he was mighty proud) to be told ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, and Dad replied, ‘Oh, I’ve seen that. Were you in it?’

Dad understood that, when something bad happens, creating something new and hopeful in its place is the best response.

I can’t bring my Dad back. I wish I could – I would swap every printed copy of my books from here to eternity for one more day with him. But what I do have is the book he was so involved in the writing of. So many of Dad’s memories are woven into the story – in Reenie’s tales of her band The Silver Five’s exploits and in Grandpa Joe’s diary entries that Mattie Bell discovers as she embarks on a road trip like no other. Even the songs that form the chapter headings in Searching for a Silver Lining are my Dad’s favourites from the 1950s. It’s as if the things I loved most about being Brian Harvey Dickinson’s daughter have been infused into the story.

  
Dad was SO proud of my writing. Every week he would call me with shelf updates from my local Waterstones and WHSmith stores – the booksellers knew he was my Dad and would show him the latest sales figures for my books. He would frequently rearrange shelves so that my books were more visible – several times I was congratulated for being a Richard and Judy pick because a certain sparkly-eyed septuagenarian had been working his magic on the shelves… I know he was proud of this book and loved chatting with me about it.

Those are the things I’m hanging on to as I prepare to do all the book promotion in the coming weeks. So if you see me on Twitter and FB and appearing on lovely book bloggers’ sites talking about my book, please know I’m doing it hoping my lovely Dad is looking on approvingly from the major stage (with the enormous audience) he’s just been called to. And thank you for all your love and support – it’s helping me so much to carry on doing what Dad was so proud of.

HERE IT IS! The cover for Searching for a Silver Lining!

I have been impatiently waiting to share the cover of my new book, Searching for a Silver Lining, with you… And finally, I can reveal it!

Drumroll, please…

Ta-daaah!

SfaSL FINAL COVERadore it – and I hope you do, too. All the silver grey you see in the picture above will be gorgeous, sparkly silver foil – including the tiny stars. I can’t wait to share my eighth novel with you! It will be published on 20th October 2016 and we’re planning all kinds of exciting things around the time of the launch, so keep watching my website, twitter and Facebook for all the details.

You can pre-order Searching for a Silver Lining NOW in both paperback and ebook editions. Woo-hoo! xx

HERE IT IS! My Big Sparkly Book News!

I have been waiting to share this with you for so long – and now the time has finally come!

….DRUMROLL PLEASE…

My eighth novel will be called SEARCHING FOR A SILVER LINING and will be published by PanMacmillan on 20th October 2016! You can now preorder it here…

SFASL Title Reveal

Here’s the blurb:

Searching for a Silver Lining

It began with a promise…

Matilda Bell is left heartbroken when she falls out with her beloved grandfather just before he dies. Haunted by regret, she makes a promise that will soon change everything…

When spirited former singing star Reenie Silver enters her life, Mattie seizes the opportunity to make amends. Together, Mattie and Reenie embark on an incredible journey that will find lost friends, uncover secrets from the glamorous 1950s and put right a sixty-year wrong.

Touchingly funny, warm and life-affirming, this is a sparkling story of second chances. Searching for a Silver Lining will take you on a trip you’ll never forget.

So, there it is! I am beyond excited for you all to read this book – I have had the best time writing it and I know you’re going to love vintage shop owner Mattie Bell and the wonderfully glamorous and outspoken Reenie Silver. The cover is being designed as we speak and I’ll tell you lots more about the book in the coming weeks, so watch out for my vlogs coming soon.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts! xx

 

Reality check…

Do you mind if I get a bit emotional for a minute?

This is just a short post but something happened to me today that I wanted to write down. To remind me that it happens.

As you know, I’m in the final stages of editing Book 8. It’s been hard. Really hard. After writing and editing eight novels you would think I’d expect this but somehow every year I forget once my book is handed in. This year has been brutal. I’m not going to apologise for saying it. Writing a book is hard work, editing it into some kind of coherent story is a long (but necessary) slog. And the final stages of an edit are the absolute worst bit. If you’ve ever written a book, you’ll understand.

Editing Book 8

My edit face – nope, it ain’t pretty…

But then today, right in the middle of it all, someone I’ve never met tweeted me to say they’d chosen my books to read during their week off.

I know how precious holiday reading time is. And how important it is to choose the right book to spend time with. So, hearing that a complete stranger has picked my book completely blows my mind.

As a published writer it’s too easy to get caught up in the tough bits – the hours nobody else sees you investing, the doubts, the heart-searching slog to find the best story – and forget why you wanted to write in the first place. Every now and again glimpses like this appear and they are wonderful.

There’s no great lesson from this, apart from the encouragement that as a writer what you do makes a difference to other people. I’m leaving this post here as a message to anyone slogging out a story – and as a message to a future, sleep-deprived, fed up, final-stage-edit me. Hang in for the good stuff. It happens.

YOUR chance to appear in Book 8!

Right now, I’m editing what will be my eighth novel and I’m making some substantial changes to the first draft I submitted at the end of last year. So, I thought it was about time we had some fun with the book…

What I’ve loved in recent years is involving my lovely readers in not just the launch of my books but throughout the process, via my vlogs and #getinvolved challenges. It’s been so much fun to incorporate ideas – and in some cases, readers themselves as characters – into my stories.

So, this got me thinking. How can I have fun with this big edit of Book 8, while also getting my lovely readers involved?

Here’s my exciting plan…

As this is an edit and I don’t have a lot of room to put in suggestions and new characters, I’ve decided to offer some chances for teeny-tiny mentions I can sneak into the story without detracting from it or changing the pace.  I’m calling these MICROCAMEOS. Think of it like film extras who appear in scenes to support the action. I would like to sneak you into the heart of the action of Book 8, hanging out with my brand new cast of characters.

Fancy grabbing a MicroCameo in my new book?

To win a spot in Book 8, simply share this blog post (via Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or on your blog) and leave a comment (either below this post, on my Facebook Author Page or tweet me @wurdsmyth on Twitter) telling me why you should have a MicroCameo. I’ll pick as many as I can to sneak into the story and if you appear in the book, I’ll mention you in the Acknowledgements at the beginning, too. Entries must be in BY MIDNIGHT (GMT) ON FRIDAY 11TH MARCH.

I would love to write you into my book. What are you waiting for? Best of luck! xx