A package arrived for me a few days ago... filled with advance copies of The Fire Portrait!
There's nothing like opening up a box to reveal the fruit of several years' work in all its glory. As I've said before, writing a book and seeing it published is like having a baby over a very long period. In this case, more than three years' worth of writing, research, re-writing, agonising, tweaking... so that when the book finally arrives there's an enormous sense of relief at a successful birth.
Having examined the contents, I'm happy to report the safe delivery of The Fire Portrait, on-time and without too much last-minute intervention.
Here are the vital statistics for the new arrival:
Weighing in at a respectable 430g, the book is 21.5cm long and 13.5cm wide. There are 62 chapters, making for a tome 3cm thick, and 415 pages long. Phew!
The novel's cover was a particular challenge for my publisher's clever designers. While wanting to show an element of starkness to reflect the rural setting, we also wanted to convey the hint of fire without resorting to flames licking the edges of the image. Subtlety was required rather than a sledgehammer. And I think it's been achieved.
Publication date for the paperback in the UK is 19th August. On the 22nd August, the e-book will be released worldwide for readers with tablets and e-reader devices. The paperback is scheduled to be released in South Africa from September, and from November in North America, Australia and New Zealand - although, my spies abroad have said they've pre-ordered and their copies are due to arrive soon. However you choose to read, I hope The Fire Portrait will kindle some warmth and light a few flames in your heart...