Flash Fiction: Paper dream

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In a box labelled Images d’Épinal, Eva found a flat paper model called Statue De La Libertè. It took her three evenings to meticulously cut around each shape, fold every tab, and stick them together. There were little family groups to attach to the edge: a plump man with a young son gazing upwards, a woman with two children, a mother holding a baby.

When it was finished, Eva imagined herself part of that tiny perfect world; and chose to ignore the too-bright colours, the fixed smiles on the faces, and deliberately forgot that it was all made of card.

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This is a 100-word flash fiction story inspired by the picture. It’s part of the Friday Fictioneers group, where our hostess, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields gives us a picture to write to, this week supplied by Lucy Fridkin. Click here to join in, or here to read other people’s.

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Images d’Épinal were originally stylised and brightly coloured designs developed by a
Frenchman in the town of Épinal. The phrase is now used for something that is so perfect and happy that it is unreal, a chocolate-box image as we might say in England. I’d be interested to know what idioms fellow Friday Fictioneers use for this phrase around the world. s-l500

Publishing Interviews: The Foreign Rights Agent

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This week I’ve interviewed the lovely Juliet Mahony, Foreign Rights Agent at Lutyens and Rubinstein (L&R), a London-based literary agency. Juliet has handled the sales of both my books to non-UK publishers as well as the audio rights. Read on to find out how she does it and to discover something that might surprise you.

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Claire: Hello Juliet. When I was starting out as a writer I had no idea that there was such a thing as a foreign rights agent, let alone what they did. Can you tell me about your role at L&R and what an average day is like for you?

Juliet: I oversee the L&R authors whose rights we handle, being published into foreign languages and also in subsidiary rights, like an audio edition for example. I work directly with publishers in The Netherlands and in Scandinavia but in most other territories I work Continue reading

Flash Fiction: Cedar of Lebanon

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It was hot that summer, the sun leaching colour from the grass, her hair turning blond. The cedar survived the drought though, 100 feet tall and the trunk too large for her arms to meet around it. Still she liked to press her cheek up against the bark, feel it breathe.

One evening Alex built a bonfire, and she stood drinking with the others, trying to whoop as the sparks flew, pretending to laugh when the bird’s nest caught.

Perhaps it was the hangover, but she couldn’t raise herself, couldn’t get out of bed the next morning to see the blackened stump.

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This is a 100-word Friday Fictioneers short story inspired by the picture above (the colour of the grass started it off), this week supplied by Jan Wisoff-Fields. Click here to join in, and here to read other people’s.

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My second novel, Swimming Lessons is currently available as a give-away on Goodreads to UK readers. Click here to enter.

Flash Fiction: Broken

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When things got really bad Cara unlocked the door to the old brew house. In one corner a huge vat squatted, as if awaiting its moment of escape. A rusting metal walkway ran around the inside walls, and under it was a scattering of broken things: chairs, tools, tyres, and other rubbish. A stinking and stained mattress was dumped in the middle. Cara undressed, and lay on it, face and palms upwards, waiting. Sometimes she had to wait for an hour or even two, but they always came if she was silent and still enough. The rats always came back.

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Sorry my story is so dark this week, when the picture is so lovely. I should be happy, I have good news – my first novel, Our Endless Numbered Days has been longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award. It is a very long longlist, but lovely to be on it.

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This is a 100-word Friday Fictioneers short story inspired by the picture above, provided to us by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (every week) and (this week) C.E. Ayre.

Our Endless Numbered Days on International Dublin Literary Award longlist

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I’m so delighted to be able to let you know that Our Endless Numbered Days has been longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award 2017. This award, previously called the IMPAC Award, is presented annually for a novel written in English or translated into English.

Novels are nominated by libraries in major cities throughout the world, and this year 147 have been put forward for the longlist. Five judges have the task of reading and deciding which books should make it onto the shortlist of 10, announced next April. The winner, who receives €100,000  (awarded to the author if the book is written in English, or if in English translation, the author receives €75,000 and the translator, €25,000) is announced next June.

It is such a long longlist, with so many amazing titles, that I am just happy that Our Endless Numbered Days has made it this far.

Click here to see all 147 nominations. I’ve only read 12, so that’s a lot of books being added to my ‘to be read’ list. Let me know how many you’ve read.

Publishing Interviews: The Art Director

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The fourth in my series of interviews with people from the publishing industry is with Diane Chonette, Art Director at an independent US publishing company. Tin House Books, based in Portland, Oregon, publishes twelve books a year, as well as the renowned Tin House magazine, and also running summer and winter workshops for writers. Tin House published my debut novel, Our Endless Numbered Days, and in February 2017 will publish my second, Swimming Lessons. Diane designed the cover.

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Claire: Hello Diane. You’re the Art Director at Tin House; can you tell me what your role involves and what a typical day is like for you?

Diane: Being the art director of a small independent publishing house requires a significant amount of multitasking. Continue reading

NaNoWriMo and saggy middles

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This picture of my cat, Alan, has no relevance to this post, but if you’re feeling a bit down, it might cheer you up. 

Last November I was an official NaNoWriMo coach – answering questions on Twitter and generally encouraging participants along. (For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is an event where participants undertake to write a 50,000 word novel in November.) As part of my duties I also wrote a blog post for the NaNoWriMo website. We’re now nearly approaching the middle of November, so for those participating this year, I thought some advice on saggy middles might be appropriate. And if  you’re not doing NaNoWriMo, but taking your time about writing a novel hopefully these suggestions could be helpful to you too.

For many writers the middle of your novel is often where your story starts to sag. You might have an idea of the ending, or even have it all planned out, but how you’re going to get there is unclear. Here, then, are six ideas to work those saggy middles to keep them strong, toned and looking good:

Make things even more difficult for your main characters.

Continue reading

Flash Fiction: Water-stain

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Fully dressed, Peter lay next to Malorie and looked up.

‘I’m leaving you,’ she said.

He might have laughed, except it wasn’t funny. Above him, on the ceiling, he saw a water-stain shaped like an arrow firing into a heart.

‘I’m hiring a nanny to look after the children,’ Malorie said. ‘No divorce; we have to keep up appearances.’

Actually, thought Peter, it was a sword.

A nurse came into the room. ‘Time to be turned, Mrs Gibbs.’

Peter stood, and as the nurse rotated Malorie’s body from her back onto her side, he looked up again and saw the heart, cleaved in two.

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I said on Twitter that today I was too sick to write, too sick to do anything. But I am a writer. So, a sad story for a sad day. Picture by Sandra Crook. Join in or read others.

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If anyone is thinking of buying a copy of Our Endless Numbered Days for a Christmas present (or for themselves), let me know and I’ll post you a personalised card to go with it. Offer is worldwide.

Christmas Offer

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Me and a few of my writerly friends have an offer for you this Christmas. Buy a copy of one of our books (for yourself or a friend) and we’ll post you a personalised card to include with it. My offer extends worldwide, but for the others listed below, you might need to check with them whether they are happy to post a card outside of their home country.

Clicking on the link will take you either to the author’s website or some other means of contacting them, so that you can ask them for your card. Happy reading!

Our Endless Numbered Days  Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller

Silvered Heart PB.indd The Silvered Heart by Katherine Clements

midwinter Midwinter by Fiona Melrose

cell-7 Cell 7 by Kerry Drewery

the-mountain-in-my-shoe The Mountain in My Shoe by Louise Beech

the-unseeing The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

the-ship The Ship by Antonia Honeywell