Bitter Orange Paperback Published in the US today

US paperback

The paperback is published today (Oct 22) in the US. It has the same wonderful cover as the hardback, but with a cut-back cover to show a quote from Time Magazine: “Unsettling and eerie, Bitter Orange is an ideal chiller”.

Although the novel is set in the blisteringly hot August of 1969, the novel has plenty of spooky, gothic elements for people looking for a book to cosy up with in a chilly fall.

It’s available today from all good independent bookstores, bookstore chains, and online. Click here to order.

In conjunction with my US publisher Tin House, I’m running a competition on Instagram to win one of two copies. You must have a US address to enter. Visit my account on Instagram: @writerclairefuller

Bitter Orange is an ideal book for book clubs, and this paperback edition has book club questions in the back to help get your discussion started. 

If you do read it, don’t forget to drop me a line to let me know what you thought.

Happy reading!

Shortlisted for Tom-Gallon Award

Tom-Gallon

I’m thrilled and honoured that my short story, Tiny and Pointed, has been shortlisted for the Tom-Gallon Trust Award. This prestigious prize, organised by The Society of Authors, has been running since 1943. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in June in Southwark Cathedral in London.

Bitter Orange paperback published

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Bitter Orange is published in paperback in the UK today. I love seeing that little penguin in the top right-hand corner.

To celebrate, I’m giving away a few signed copies. You can enter one or all of these:

  1. I’ll be giving away a signed copy to a UK-based subscriber of my newsletter. Sign up here.
  2. Another signed copy will go to anyone who follows me on Twitter and retweets my pinned tweet. Visit my Twitter feed here, or @ClaireFuller2
  3. Two signed copies will go to anyone who follows me on Instagram, and tags a bookish friend or two in the comments of my latest post. Find me @WriterClaireFuller

I can only post to UK addresses. All competitions close on Sunday 12th May.

Good luck!

 

Book titles: Bitter Orange

BitterOrange FINAL pb cover

Archaeology

The titles of my books have always tended to evolve, and Bitter Orange is no exception. Usually though, the early Word files are simply called, Book 1 or Book 4, or whichever it is. But my third novel had a title from the beginning: Archaeology. I thought it was going to be about people digging things up, literally and metaphorically.

I keep a writing diary and on 22nd April 2016 (the novel was started on 23rd December 2015), I thought that Archaeology was too difficult a word to write. ‘Those three bloody vowels in a row are beginning to annoy me,’ I wrote. And on 30th August of that year, I added, ‘I’m thinking of changing the title to Blood Orange’.

Blood Orange

For the rest of the time when I was writing it, the novel was called Blood Orange, and this was what it was called when I sent it to my literary agent, and when it was submitted to my publishers in the UK, the US, and Canada. And they bought it with that name. Blood Orange.

The story is about Frances, a woman who is commissioned to survey the follies in the gardens of an English country house in 1969. There she meets and becomes besotted by Cara and Peter and visits the orangery alongside the house which has (or had at the time of writing) a single blood DSCF8951orange tree, so enormous it has broken through the glass panes. Blood oranges are sweet, and the fruit are ripe at a certain time of year. Three blood oranges are picked from the tree and squeezed to make juice – a point integral to the plot.

Then, in July 2017, after the book was sold, my editor at Penguin told me that the sale of another book, a debut thriller by Harriet Tyce had just been announced in The Bookseller (the UK trade magazine for publishing), and it was called Blood Orange.

Titles of books, or albums or anything else aren’t copyrighted, but it was quickly agreed that publishing books with the same title around the same time was not a good idea, and Harriet’s had been announced, and mine hadn’t. It was mine that would have to change.

Bitter Orange

Changing a title I’d been happy with for months if not years was a difficult thing to accept. I was angry – at no one in particular – for quite a while.

I had lots of conversations with my editors and agents and lots of suggestions were bounced back and forth. I went through the novel with a highlighter and I wrote lists of word combinations. It was Sarah Lutyens, one of the founders of my literary agents, Lutyens and Rubinstein who came up with Bitter Orange. I think she just emailed it to HoAme one day – two perfect words.

Except, that a bitter orange (which is not eaten or juiced, but generally used to make marmalade), is a very different thing to a blood orange. I wrote to Patricia Oliver from Global Orange Groves who had been helping me with orange tree advice for the book. Bitter oranges fruit at different times to blood oranges, and the juice is barely drinkable. Anyone who writes will know that you make what might seem like a simple change in the text: blood to bitter, but the repercussions ripple on and on. If I needed my characters to try to drink the juice, someone needed to realise they needed sugar, then they had to get sugar, which meant someone had to go shopping, which meant someone had to leave the house when I needed them to remain there. I faced lots of niggly revising.

Bitter Orange is better

But once I’d sorted out the changes and had lived with the new title for a while, it seemed more suited than Blood Orange, which I think sounds very thriller-like, and Bitter Orange isn’t a thriller.

By the time the book was published in the UK, in the US, and Canada, I loved the title: Bitter Orange.

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What do you think about the title? Please leave a comment below.

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Bitter Orange is published in paperback in the UK on 2nd May, and is also available in the US, Canada and Germany (where it is called Bittere Orangen). Visit this page to buy a copy.

Sign up for my newsletter with information about forthcoming books, events and competitions.

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Where next?

Read an article on my favourite book titles.

Writing, Editing, Publishing Q&A

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Over on Instagram (@writerclairefuller) I recently asked if anyone had any questions about writing, editing or getting published. And there were lots! I’ve answered them all in brief in an Instagram post, but it’s hard to be concise with so many questions. So here are my longer answers. Do let me know if you have any other questions in the comments below and I’ll save them up for a future post.

My writing day

How I organise my writing time (@raluca1503 @tftmotherland)

I worked for so many years in a marketing company following normal office hours that now I write full time, I can’t rid myself of the old 9 – 5. Well, actually 9 – 6pm. But I’m doing much more than working on my novel in progress in that time, and it does depend on where I am in the publishing cycle. I have been known to be promoting one book, Continue reading

Learn fiction writing skills on an Arvon Writing Retreat

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Are you a fiction writer looking for help with your work? I’m delighted that I’ll be teaching a general fiction course at Arvon with fellow author Andrew Taylor, in May.

Based at The Hurst in Shropshire in the UK, this writing retreat runs from May 6th to May 11th. Andrew and I will be holding workshops and exercises around the main elements of fiction writing including character, theme, setting and narrative. Attendees also get two one-to-one sessions where we look at their specific pieces, and author David Hayden will be visiting for one evening. Plus there will be opportunities to share your work (if you want to), and plenty of writing time. And of course good food and great company. I’d love to see you there.

Find out more.

For over fifty years Arvon has been running residential writing courses in their three centres across the UK.

A Thousand Word Photos

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A little while ago I was invited to take part in a writing project run by A Thousand Word Photos, where a photographer gives three of their photographs to a writer, who then selects one which is used to inspire a 1,000 word short story. The story is then published online and read out to stroke patients around the UK, as part of the charity, Interact.

The photograph I selected (above) was taken by the renowned photographer Anastasia Taylor-Lind, and without knowing anything about it, I wrote a 1000 word story called Intelligent Private Lines, which you can read here.

29 Jan 29

A Thousand Word Photos recently held their first live event in London, where six short stories written as part of the project, were read out to the audience by actors, and the image that inspired the story was projected on the wall. I was delighted that my story was selected to be read by the actor, Jessica Raine (of Call the Midwife fame).

 

The whole project has recently been featured in British Journal of Photography.

New Cover for Bitter Orange Paperback

 

BitterOrange FINAL pb cover

The paperback of Bitter Orange will be published in the UK on 2nd May 2019. (Readers in the US will have to wait a little longer.) And I’m delighted to share with you the new cover. As you can see it’s as different as you can get from the hardback, but I hope it will intrigue and entice a whole new set of readers.

The hardback is still available in many bookshops and available to order, but if you’re waiting for the paperback publication you can pre-order now from Amazon or (preferably) your local bookshop.

Make sure you sign up to my newsletter and follow me on Twitter or Instagram to hear about competitions to win copies of my novels. (A competition to win a copy of Swimming Lessons is running on both Twitter and Instagram until 7th February 2019.)

I’d love to know what you think about the cover – please comment below.

Buy a copy of Bitter Orange.

Claire’s and Tim’s Top Ten Books of 2018

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It’s that time again for my, and my librarian husband’s, top ten books. These are selected from books we read this year – not books published this year. You can read our lists from 2017, 2016, and 2015 by clicking on the years.

Here are some facts and figures about my list:

  • None of my top 10 books were published this year (although I did read plenty of recently published books)
  • I read 94 books this year (including a couple of manuscripts)
  • Three of the books on my list have been made into wonderful films: The Hours, The Wall, and My Abandonment (filmed as Leave No Trace), (and You Should have Left is in production)
  • Neatly, five female and five male authors made it onto my list (of my 94, 56 were female)
  • Two of my top ten are English translations from German: You Should Have Left and The Wall
  • The shortest book I read – You Should Have Left – made it onto my top ten. It’s 111 pages, but they are tiny pages. The longest I read was Night Film at 640 pages.
  • I listened to two of the novels on my list, and loved them so much I bought a physical copy: After the Eclipse (also the only non-fiction book on my list), and Odd Girl Out by Elizabeth Jane Howard
  • For an article I wrote in October about haunted house novels, I read several ‘scary’ books that I hadn’t heard of before, and two of them (You Should have Left, and The Elementals) made it onto my list.

My best reads of 2018

Top 3 (in no order)

Continue reading

Signed Cards for Christmas

Christmas

 

If you’re thinking of buying a copy of Bitter Orange, Swimming Lessons, or Our Endless Numbered Days for someone for Christmas, let me know and I’ll send you a signed card for free, for you to include with the book.

I’m happy to post cards to anywhere in the world, just send me a message, telling me which book or books you’re buying, who I should write the card for, and what your address is.

Happy Christmas!