Guest Post: Kate Maruyama on The Time Traveler’s Wife

Kate Maruyama and I are ‘book-twinned’ because 47North released our novels on the same day, yesterday. I’m an avid reader of her blog Annotation Nation, which invites authors to explain how they’ve honed their craft by examining other writers’ works. So I asked Kate to write a guest post about one novel that helped her to write Harrowgate.

Kate Maruyama

Kate Maruyama

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front cover

New Cover Release for A Calculated Life: Pre-ordering On!

front cover

And the back cover is fab, too!

One step closer! I’m thrilled to show you the cover art for the new edition of A Calculated Life, which is now available for pre-ordering on Amazon.

It’s been a wonderful experience having my self-published novel signed by 47North and the team has done a sterling job. The new cover, by theBookDesigners, has an echo of the original (I was surprised by that). And the paperback format is brilliant because the artwork wraps around the spine, with fragmentation of the image on the back cover. Just gorgeous. Great typography, too! I hope you like it.

My editor David Pomerico presented me with several covers. There was a clear consensus on the final choice!

As well as working with the 47North team, I’ve been carrying out research for a new writing project. I’ll tell you more once I’ve progressed beyond scribbles, post-it notes and chaotic bashing at my keyboard… Read more

Nine Worlds GeekFest #2: Why Is The Future So Binary?

Nine Worlds GeekFest explored sexuality and gender in science fiction in a fascinating range of debates including Why Is The Future So Binary? This super-packed-out event witnessed a lively exchange between the author-panelists and the attendees, who shouted out examples of gender diversity in SF literature. The event successfully drew together a list of fictional worlds featuring gender non-conformity as opposed to the usual girl-meets-boy scenarios. (More books for the To Read list!)

Alex Dally MacFarlane pointed to the classic example – Ursula K Le Guin’s novel The Left Hand of Darkness, set in a world without gender. ‘Le Guin pokes at gender binary,’ said MacFarlane. And chairing the discussion panel, Tori Truslow told the audience, ‘We need more! SF writers seem to think, “Le Guin did that so we don’t need to do it.”’ Read more

Utopia

Nine Worlds GeekFest #1: Is Our Future Utopian Or Dystopian?

Science fiction writers are getting ‘carried away with fear,’ according to author Tricia Sullivan. ‘There’s a failure to imagine a positive future. As a writer it’s harder to build things up than blow things up… Finding an element of hope really does mean disabling all my instincts as a science fiction writer.’

Sullivan was part of a four-author panel debating the question Is Our Future Utopian Or Dystopian? at Nine Worlds GeekFest 2013 in London last weekend. Her remark came in response to a challenge from Tom Hunter, director of The Clarke Awards, who chaired the event. He asked: ‘How do we find an element of hope?’ Sullivan quoted from Oscar Wilde: ‘The basis of optimism is sheer terror.’ (From The Picture of Dorian Gray). Read more

A Calculated Life signed up by publisher 47North

Big news!

I’ve signed a book deal with David Pomerico of 47North, Amazon Publishing’s science fiction, fantasy and horror imprint, for a new edition of my dystopian novel A Calculated Life.

How sweet does that sound? I can barely believe it.

The 47North team is based in Seattle and over this summer they will create a new cover for my novel, copy-edit and proofread the manuscript, including changing the text to American spellings (!), and release the new edition in mid-September 2013.

The original edition of A Calculated Life, with British English spellings and the great Mack Manning cover, will be available until the release of the 47North edition.

I’ve read some excellent feedback online from authors about their working relationships with Amazon Publishing and I can’t wait to get started. Read more

Hay Festival #6: NoViolet Bulawayo and Meike Ziervogel

The last of my blatherings on Hay Festival 2013; I’ve saved the heart-breakers until last.

NoViolet Bulawayo

NoViolet Bulawayo: Revisiting and celebrating her childhood in Zimbabwe.

NoViolet Bulawayo and Meike Ziervogel both delve into national traumas in their recent novels and both do so through a child’s point of view. On the final day at Hay I attended their emotionally charged event, which was introduced by Gaby Wood.

In NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names, 10-year-old Darling lives in a shanty named Paradise and, through her eyes, we glimpse the turmoil of Zimbabwe’s recent history. According to the author, ‘A child’s eye view depoliticises events and suspends my own belief. You have to tone it down; readers can easily be put off. But it was also fun because it allowed me to return to my childhood. It was a celebration.’ Read more

Commonwealth Prize

Hay Festival #5: 6 Commonwealth Writers on Writing

‘Kamila Shamsie has placed Pakistani literature on the world stage,’ said Razia Iqbal introducing a Commonwealth Writers’ panel on the second weekend of Hay Festival. Kamila Shamsie’s most recent novel Burnt Shadows takes the reader across the globe from Nagasaki in 1945, through Partition in India and on to 9/11 in New York, and Afghanistan. (Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction). Read more

Hay Festival #4: 7 Fiction Writers on Writing

Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak, author of ‘Honour’ – longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction.
‘If there’s a dynamism in the book world in Turkey it is precisely because women read a lot.’

Elif Shafak would like to see more Turkish books translated into Kurdish. ‘I was mesmerized when I came to Hay that the road signs are in English and Welsh. Maybe one day in Turkey we will have Turkish and Kurdish road signs.’ Her country operated, she said, on the basis that ‘everyone is Turkish. We adopted the French approach.’

Shafak presented this year’s Raymond Williams Lecture at Hay Festival in association with PEN International. She writes in both English and Turkish and her latest novel Honour was longlisted for this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction (now sponsored by Baileys). Here’s my review of Honour. Read more

Hay Festival #3: Rhianna Pratchett on Writing for Games

I’m back from Hay Festival, the campervan is unpacked and I’ll be posting my favourite snippets from the 10-day literary event over the next few days. First up, Rhianna Pratchett in conversation with Guy Cocker.

Rhianna Pratchett

Rhianna Pratchett: A Narrative Paramedic

‘Fifteen years ago when I was a games journalist, no one talked about narrative,’ said Rhianna Pratchett to a multi-generational Hay audience. Even today writers in the games industry, she said, were seen as narrative paramedics. ‘It’s only when a story is bleeding so badly that someone will say, “We really need a writer.” A lot of projects out there are like that.’ In general, writers were brought in too late because the industry failed to appreciate how much they added to a project. “There needs to be a narrative logic so that players actually care.”

Rhianna Pratchett is perfectly placed to comment on writing for the games industry. In 2007 she was a BAFTA nominee for her work on Heavenly Sword and she won a Writers’ Guild of Great Britain script award for Overlord. She’s also known for developing the voice of Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. Read more

Hay Festival #2: Will Self and the Out-Sourcing of Violence

Will Self

Will Self in conversation with Sarfraz Manzoor

Will Self always pulls a big crowd at Hay and this year he dished out a sizzling mix of wit and venom, plus comic banter with interviewer Sarfraz Manzoor. In a (literally) terrific performance, he read from his latest novel Umbrella. As he later explained to the audience, Umbrella is the completion of a trilogy that follows ‘the outsourcing of violence’ in modern times.

He said Umbrella’s main character Audrey Death – a post-encephalytic patient in a London asylum – embodied the impact of technological developments in the 20th Century. In 1908 Henry T Ford built his first industrial production line, said Self, and in 1914 this new wave of industrialisation transferred to the trenches creating a production line of death. Read more