Bitter Orange Published in USA and Canada

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Bitter Orange is published today (October 9) in the USA and Canada. And to celebrate I’m giving away one set of all three of my novels: Our Endless Numbered Days, Swimming Lessons, and a hardback copy of Bitter Orange (with its US cover).

To enter, just visit Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, and follow the instructions there. The competition is open worldwide.

The Canadian cover, from House of Anansi, is almost the same as the UK version.

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Early US reviews have been great:

Kirkus (starred review)
“In the vein of Shirley Jackson’s bone-chilling The Haunting of Hill House, Fuller’s disturbing novel will entrap readers in its twisty narrative, leaving them to reckon with what is real and what is unreal. An intoxicating, unsettling masterpiece.”

Entertainment Weekly
“In her new novel, Claire Fuller enhances the mystery with luscious detail: sights of ghosts, smells of overripe fruit, echoes of Cara wailing. The plot’s movements are rendered secondary, at least in the early going, to the atmosphere, and it’s to the novel’s benefit; with sensations so alive on the page, you’re constantly kept on your toes, attuned to the mania. You’ll ask, beguiled: What’s really going on here?”

Buy Bitter Orange.

Win a Bitter Orange Hamper

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Bitter Orange is published in the USA a week today (9th October). Tin House, my US publisher is running a competition for US readers to win a Bitter Orange hamper if you pre-order the book before publication day. And you can get a 30% discount off the full price if you order online through Powell’s Books, using the discount code ORANGE. Once you’ve pre-ordered, send your proof of purchase to tinhousebooks@tinhouse.com to be entered into the competition.

The book is already out in the UK and Germany, and you can read what reviewers have been saying.

In the US it’s been appearing on lots of round up lists of what to read in October, including:

  • Time Magazine: “Unsettling and eerie, Bitter Orange is an ideal October chiller.”
  • Entertainment Weekly: “Fuller (Swimming Lessons) weaves between two timelines in this story of a love triangle hurtling toward tragedy. Set predominantly in the English countryside circa 1969, Bitter Orange explores attraction, obsession, and the power of storytelling.”
  • NYLON: “Fuller is a master of the quietly eerie; she’s excellent at creating an aura of pervasive dread—and sustaining it till the very last page.”
  • Lit Hub: “A beguiled introvert, a manor in disrepair, and other people’s secrets? Easy sell.”
  • Vulture: by author Tana French – “Reviews say the book has an unreliable narrator, beautiful writing, and hints of Shirley Jackson and Daphne du Maurier. No way can I resist that.”

If you like the sound of that, pre-order from Powell’s Books, or anywhere else you fancy. Just keep your receipt.

Cover Reveal for Bitter Orange (US)

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I’m absolutely delighted to reveal the cover for the US version of my third novel, Bitter Orange, which will be published on October 9th by Tin House. I’d love to know what you think!

From the attic of Lyntons, a dilapidated English country mansion, Frances Jellico sees them―Cara first: dark and beautiful, then Peter: striking and serious. The couple is spending the summer of 1969 in the rooms below hers while Frances is researching the architecture in the surrounding gardens. But she’s distracted. Beneath a floorboard in her bathroom, she finds a peephole that gives her access to her neighbors’ private lives.

Before long they are spending every day together: eating lavish dinners, drinking bottle after bottle of wine, and smoking cigarettes until the ash piles up on the crumbling furniture. Frances is dazzled. But as the hot summer rolls lazily on, it becomes clear that not everything is right between Cara and Peter. The stories that Cara tells don’t quite add up, and as Frances becomes increasingly entangled in the lives of the hedonistic couple, the boundaries between truth and lies, right and wrong, begin to blur. Amid the decadence, a small crime brings on a bigger one: a crime so terrible that it will brand their lives forever.

Bitter Orange is available to pre-order from your local independent bookstore (please consider using them first), or Amazon.

(The UK cover will be revealed in the next few weeks.)

Swimming Lessons Paperback Published in US

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The paperback of Swimming Lessons is published in the US today. My publisher, Tin House, has created a beautiful version of the hardback jacket using darker tones. And this version has book club questions in the back. If you do read it for your book club remember to take a picture of your group with the book and I’ll post the best to my Instagram account.

UK readers will have to wait a little longer for the paperback to be released.

The pictures above were taken and posted by some wonderful bookstagrammers, and if you’re on Instagram, I’d highly recommend following them all, not only for some wonderful bookish features, but lots of friendly bookish chat and reading suggestions.

Click to read more about Swimming Lessons.

Thanks to: @theloudlibrarylady @gracerajendran @bkInbooks @booksforyears @booksonherbrain @dlgillis20 @les_livres_ jennicapps15 @lblovesbooks for the pictures.

Win a Book Club in a Box

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My US publisher, Tin House, and Literary Hub, a daily news source for all things literary, have got together to offer US book clubs the chance to win a Swimming Lessons Book Club in a Box.

The prize is some earl grey tea (my favourite), biscuits (or cookies to all you Americans), book club questions, signed book plates, and a Skype call with me when your group meets to discuss the book.

Enter here.

Find out more about Swimming Lessons, or contact me if your book club is already reading Swimming Lessons and you’d like some questions.

Ephemera

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I have been busy doing events and signing copies of my second novel, Swimming Lessons. There are signed books in New York, and Philadelphia, and many in bookshops in the UK. One of the themes of the novel is the things that people leave behind in books, and so in the books I’ve been signing I’ve also inserted a piece of ephemera – a receipt, an old letter, a photograph. My friend, Bridget said it would be nice to have a place where I can show some of the things that readers find. So, here is that page.  Continue reading

To stet or not to stet

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I read an article recently in The Guardian about how the UK and US versions of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell have large sections which are different to each other.  Mitchell is quoted as saying he ‘didn’t go to the trouble of making sure that the American changes were applied to the British version (which was entering production by that point probably) and vice versa’.  To be honest I wasn’t that surprised.

I have just come to the end of about four months of checking copy edits and making proofreading decisions for my novel, Swimming Lessons which will be published early in 2017. The work calls for precision, meticulousness and reading the whole book somewhere between ten and twenty times, and that’s after the main edits have been signed off.

For me, the issue is complicated because I have different publishers in both countries: Fig Tree, an imprint of Penguin in the UK, and Tin House in the US. And both publishers have their own schedules, their own ways of doing things, their own style guides.

Juliet Annan, my editor at Fig Tree, passes copy editing and proofreading management to a Penguin Editorial Manager, while at Tin House, this process is managed by my editor, Masie Cochran (although both publishing houses use an external copy editor and proof readers).

Fig Tree bought Swimming Lessons first and consequently its publishing process started and ended sooner than Tin House’s, which meant that I wasn’t able to work on the text for both countries at the same time.

You might think copy editing and proofreading would be as simple as checking for errors and changing British English spelling and phrases to US English spelling and phrases. But writing and editing books is never that easy. Swimming Lessons is set in England, and I am an English author, so quite rightly Masie didn’t think for example that ‘pavement’ should be changed to ‘sidewalk’, or even ‘colour’ to ‘color’. (Although a fellow author who wrote a book set in England told me that her US editor did want her to change ‘pound’ to ‘dollar’. She resisted.)

This is the process:

  1. I work with my editors to make the book as good as it can be in terms of structure, plot, character; all those things that make a novel a novel
  2. The manuscript is sent to a copy editor who feeds back changes which I work on or reject (with the editor getting involved in major decisions)
  3. The manuscript is laid out as a book
  4. The book is sent to two proof readers
  5. The copy editor (in the UK) or Masie (in the US) checks the proof readers’ changes
  6. I’m sent a print out of the book on A4 paper (UK), or a pdf (US)
  7. I accept or reject the proof readers’ changes (involving the copy editor or Masie in any large decisions) either actually on the page, or in a Word document

As I write this list of actions, it still sounds simple. But there are up to 10 changes per uk-proofreading-picpage in a novel that’s approximately 307 pages long, with over 86,000 words. And the changes made by the UK will often be completely different to those made by the US.

And because of the different publishing schedules, I don’t work on just one document for both countries; I work on two. The UK copy editing and proofreading changes for Swimming Lessons were finished and approved (or not) by me a few months ago, while I finished the work for Tin House earlier this week. Penguin’s copy is ready to go to print. It is up to me to decide which of the changes we incorporated in the UK version should get transferred to the Tin House copy and vice versa. Of course, it’s easy with spelling mistakes and major inconsistencies, but what about the grammar? Commas go in, and commas come out; colons change to semicolons and back again; speech marks are double or single, titles of books are italicised or they’re not…

But it’s also not just up to me. There are the style-guides to remember. These are documents the publishing houses use to create consistency across their own books. Interestingly, Penguin’s style-guide even for UK books mandates the use of z’s: realize, recognize, authorize. But because Masie and I decided that Swimming Lessons is an English book by an English author, we’ve used realise, recognise and authorise. So oddly, the book will have some US spelling in the British version, and some UK spelling in the American version.

The copy editor and proof readers at Tin House also use the Merriam-Webster dictionary for clarification. So, the UK version will have ‘sing-song’, whereas for the US version Merriam-Webster suggests ‘singsong’; and it’s up to me whether to agree that change or not. What about ‘candlestick maker’ or ‘candlestickmaker’, ‘mid-sentence’ or ‘midsentence’, ‘fish-like’ or ‘fishlike’? And on and on.

Luckily I enjoy dealing with this level of detail. (I prefer editing to writing a first draft.) But my spelling and knowledge of grammar is poor. When I’m deciding what changes to accept and which to reject, or ‘stet’, I try to consider clarity, consistency, syntax, (my) style, and rhythm before I think about whether the grammar is correct. (I rejected every ‘whom’ where it would have been technically correct in favour of the ‘who’ that I wrote.) And my overall objective when we’re down this deep in the text is to create words, and sentences and paragraphs that keep the reader reading.

If you’re a writer, let me know how copy editing and proofreading works for you, and if you’re a reader, did you know this already? I’d love to hear what you think.

But if you do read Swimming Lessons when it’s published and you spot any typos or grammatical errors, actually I don’t want to know.

 

Revealing the Cover Design for Swimming Lessons

I’ve reached one of the most exciting parts of having a book published – revealing the covers. I’ve known about them for some time, and I’m absolutely delighted with how they look. Here are the UK, US and Canadian covers for my second novel, Swimming Lessons. The original US jacket (on the right) was designed by Diane Chonette, the Art Director at Tin House (my US publisher).

My Canadian publisher (House of Anansi) has decided to use Tin House’s cover as it stands, while Fig Tree / Penguin in the UK has decided to tweak it a little (on the left). I love both of them.

The novel will be published late January / early Feb 2017, and you can read what it’s about here.

And although it’s still many months until publication, you can already pre-order it on Amazon: UK, US and Canada. Or you could wait and buy it from your lovely local independent bookshop.

I’d love to know what you think. Do leave me a comment.