So it’s finally here: The Farm at the Edge of the World is published in hardback at the end of this month (June 30) – which means a sudden flurry of activity.
I’ve been interviewed for audible.co.uk, which will sell the audiobook; am writing various blogs about the location and inspiration; and am about to embark on a mini bookshop tour of Cornwall – in the hope that booksellers in Penzance, Truro and Padstow might be prepared to sell a novel set in their remote yet breathtakingly beautiful part of the world.
With the help of my publishers, I’ve created a Pinterest board showing the inspiration behind the story. https://uk.pinterest.com/…/the-farm-at-the-edge-of-the-wor…/
Set on an isolated stretch of the north Cornwall coast, my second novel is one of love, loss and forgiveness – all played out on a family farm. My great grandfather, Matthew Jelbert, farmed on the south Cornish coast; and it was my mum’s memories of summers spent helping with the harvest, together with mine of childhood holidays in the north of the county, that inspired this novel.
Set by the sea, and on Bodmin moor, I also hope it has a flavour of the novels of Thomas Hardy, whose Far From the Madding Crowd is referenced throughout the book; and Daphne du Maurier; and is my literary love letter to the area.
The first early reviews from fellow authors are coming through, and have been unfailingly lovely; and my French publishers, Livre de Poche, have bought it and will launch it next spring in Paris, to coincide with my first novel, The Art of Baking Blind, in paperback.
Meanwhile, there’s a goodreads giveaway of 20 copies of The Farm. So if you’d like a free copy of my timeslip novel – set in the present day and 1943/4 – do click here. fal.cn/2x7i
If not, it will be published in e-book and hardback on June 30; and in paperback in January. Now, time to try to make some saffron bread – and then back to the third novel.
I love January: a time for resolutions, expectations and the possibility of starting afresh.
This New Year, I'm waiting for the proofs of my second novel, The Farm at the Edge of the World, which will be published on June 30th.
The arrival of the proofs mean that there's no real chance of further fiddling: this stage is just about picking up any erroneous punctuation or strange line breaks. For a perfectionist like me, this closure can be terrifying but it's also liberating. I can do no more. It is finished. And it will start to look like a real book.
Bound proofs should come next - I hope in February - and a final cover design. I've been shown various ideas and "roughs" but the final image hasn't yet been finessed. It's at this point that I become very excited, possibly more so than when the finished copies arrive. I'll also begin to get nervous: these proofs are the ones sent to reviewers and bloggers and to my foreign editors in the hope that they might want to publish me again.
And then I'll need to let go of my novel about the secrets of a farm on the North Cornish coast - at least until the run up to publication day. As spring bursts upon Shelford, I'm hoping to complete the first draft of my third book. I've only just started but have plotted and researched extensively, hoping to avoid the difficulties I encountered by racing ahead with my archetypal tricky second novel.
And I have new writing resolutions: to stay off social media until late afternoon; to exercise more regularly; and not to continually edit. I so hope to keep these! January is nothing if not a time of optimism. Happy New Year!
Sarah Vaughan January 2016
There have been many milestones on the journey to having my first novel published: seeing the first printed pages; receiving a bound proof; and then publishing the hardback – a real, solid book to hold in my hands and beam at in shops – in July last year.
But the publication of the paperback of The Art of Baking Blind, just over two weeks ago, marked a new high. Because for the first time I know it is widely available: on sale in Waitrose, Tesco, Asda and Morrison’s, as well as WH Smith’s, Waterstone’s, on Amazon and in independent bookshops. Flying out of Gatwick three days after its launch, I checked the two WH Smith’s in the departure lounge and found it four times: not just standing proudly in the paperback chart but slotted alongside one of my literary heroes, Sarah Waters, and placed face forwards, in a buy-one-get-second-half-price offer.
Meanwhile book two - my archetypal tricky second novel - is almost finished. After around seven drafts, and two title
tle changes, it’s a far different creature – darker, more poignant, more evocative of the wild yet beautiful north Cornwall where it is set – than the first draft I completed this time last year.
The prologue and first chapter have been printed in the back of the new paperback; the title and blurb are on Amazon; and I’ve been shown roughs of a planned cover – which will pick up the glorious retro font used for The Art of Baking Blind’s paperback but use darker colours. The publication date, like the title, has changed, but That Summer at Skylark Farm will now be published in suitably summery late June next year.
And so, as my children go back to school and September begins in earnest, I’m going to start plotting my next novel. The story and characters have been festering for a couple of years: now I need to flesh out the skeleton of the plot so that publishers want to buy it – and readers read on.
I love autumn in Little Shelford: the air tinged with the smell of woodsmoke; the ground pebbled with glossy conkers; the early-morning mist transforming the walk to school. Now, it looks as if there will be a new tradition, along with the search for winter boots, the buying of new pencil cases and the search for a costume for the Little Shelford feast. Autumn, and my writing year begins once more.
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