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Flesh of the Peach – On The Night

 

Credit: Olga Wojtas

What a wonderful evening – thank you so much to all who came out to celebrate Flesh of the Peach last night at Blackwell’s South Bridge, and a huge thanks to Roanna for introducing Jenny Brown and myself, and for organising – and all the staff who helped out! Thanks as always to Jenny for her hard work and for chairing.

 

Credit: Olga Wojtas

 

There was a write up of the evening by Love Books Group. Check it out.

 

 

More news – I will be on BBC  Radio Scotland on the Janice Forsyth Show hosted by Edi Stark TODAY from 2.44pm, and after me 404 Ink (makers of Nasty Women and general all-round excellent women themselves).  Listen live online here, and find the archive if you miss it.

 

 

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The Unsung Letter No. 15

The newest Unsung Letter is heading out to subscribers, and it’s on a wonderful-sounding children’s book (there have been so many discoveries for me too with this project):

 

When I was a little girl, my room contained an adult-sized birch desk whose expansive surface was protected by a quarter-inch thick sheet of glass, with green-tinted bevelled edges. Long before I could read, and also long after learning how, I spent stretches of time staring into that bevel, convinced I saw another world inside, and that patience would reward me with a glimpse of its inhabitants.  
 
My other strong belief was that anyone could see The Past unfolding if they whizzed round fast enough. Long before I could spell “physics” or “philosophy”, I’d intuited the theory of block universe. I still sneak glances over my shoulder. You never know. 

 

Subscribe here if you haven’t already, for a weekly letter by a different author/critic/booklover recommending a different underpraised book each time.

 

Look out for a post later today – my debut novel was launched into the world yesterday, and, at the urging of the internet, I wore some interesting garments along to it. More later though, when the pictures are uploaded.

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Flesh of the Peach Launch Party

Edinburgh and Edinburgh-adjacent folk (and anyone further afield who would like to come to this): Flesh of the Peach is getting its launch TONIGHT at Blackwell’s South Bridge, starting from 6.30pm. Jenny Brown will be chairing the event. There will be free wine and sweet things, and tickets are utterly free. I’ll be talking about the book itself, my journey across the US, and all sorts on the writing and publishing processes, and of course signing books. I would love it if lots of you could come.

 

Here’s the link to book (free!) tickets, or just simply rock up at 6ish. Say hello!

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Flesh of the Peach Publication Day!

 

 

Today’s the day my debut novel is officially out in the world! So many feelings swirling around me.

 

If you’d like to help the book (and me out), here are some things you can do:

 

Read it – obviously I’m going to say this, but I want to say why – to me, a book is only real if it exists in the mind of others. It is a conversation between my mind and yours. And each mind does something different to the text. I’m sure a dozen theorists have said this more eloquently than me (or argued otherwise) but I believe it – readers create the book. Something transpires, and is made when readers engage with a text. It’s why I’m a reader just as much as a writer. For this sort of magic.

 

Review it – given the unique way everyone engages with a book, it can help others to know whether or not they should buy it. If a book is not reviewed, silence surrounds it. Mystery. Sometimes, that’s good – perhaps years from now, a reader will discover a solitary copy of my novel in a library (if we are fortunate to have libraries in the future, and I hope s0 with all my heart) and come to it utterly fresh, and find something good in it. But that’s one, currently fictional person. I’d like it if others could find the book more easily. If you can, leaving reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, Bookshop websites, booktube or your personal blog would make a huge difference in allowing the book to be discoverable by others – this goes too for reviews that are critical. Thoughtfulness is important, and real engagement.

 

Buy it – this is the way I can keep writing – not that my income is supported greatly by writing (as you probably know, most writers make less than minimum wage from their writing, most a lot less) but because it shows future publishers that my next book is worth taking a chance on too. And I get to keep going in this quixotic endeavour.  Obviously, buy the book however you can. If it’s cheaper to do it one way than another, if it means you will have a chance to read it, then do it! But supporting indie presses and bookshops is hugely important to the health of literature, so if you can afford to, support your local bookshop. Booksellers the ones who will help you find something unique next time  you’re stuck for something to read. They’re the ones that know what’s good and what’s hyped. Some of them are on social media too, sharing and singing out about all sorts of books by authors you might never have heard of. If your local bookshop doesn’t have a copy of Flesh of the Peach, you can order it in, supporting both the bookshop and the book by letting others know of it. Or ask your library to get it in. Or buy it directly from the publisher.

 

Help me launch it25th of April in Edinburgh, Blackwell’s South Bridge. I hope to be at other events (TBA shortly). Come out and tell me you want to read it, have read it and loved it (or didn’t – but please, be kind in person!). Party with me. Books don’t have weddings, real birthdays or give birth. They are out in the world and sometimes vanish after a few months or years. Come out with me and fight the hush.

 

All of these of course hold true for other books that have just come out. If you don’t fancy reading mine, pick another, and help it out into the world. If you are a reader and you love books, my hope is this – that you will be your own Unsung Letter. So I can keep reading new and wondrous things too.

 

 

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The Unsung Letter No. 14

Fourteen Unsung Letters out in the world! Fourteen lovely book-pushers! Here’s a taste of this week’s recs:

 

I love recommending books to people, especially when those people want a book recommendation because they’re busy, “don’t have time” for reading, and need something to nudge them back into picking up a paperback instead of the TV remote when they have half an hour to sit on the sofa. And half an hour is the perfect amount of time for short stories. You can zip through one on the train, or waiting for the bus, or sitting in a towel, post-shower, drying. (It’s totally A Thing.) You can go to bed half an hour early to read and give yourself super vivid dreams with a beginning, middle, and end.

 

The Unsung Letter is a weekly and entirely free email recommending an under-beloved bit of fiction, with each UL written from the bottom of the heart by a different writer, critique, or other book-pusher each time. Subscribe here, or if you are still not convinced, read the archive.

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The Unsung Letter No 13

The latest Unsung Letter is now heading to subscribers, in this case on a book that’s just recently been awarded some accolades, lifting it into the spectrum of the heard-of. But it is still deserving of praise, argues Nicholas Hogg:

 

The novel feels as bracing as one of its North Sea waves because, in part, it’s refreshing to read a story that isn’t concerned with pleasing the reader. Characters are not rounded to fit a type, to be likeable, or have their travails in the world neatly understood so we close the book with a lesson learned.

 

Subscribe here for an impassioned, clear-eyed, or exuberant weekly recommendation for an undersung book by a different writer/book pusher every time.

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Interview on The Skinny

I was interviewed by Gary Kaill for The Skinny, and he had some really kind things to say about Flesh of the Peach:

 

Flesh of the Peach is both a gripping re-imagining of the traditional American road trip and a character examination whose deep focus is testament to the author’s forensic detailing and abiding humanity. In a novel that weighs the twin uncertanties of who we are and how we got here, it’s a pointed summarising of the ongoing struggle to outrun the past and establish yourself in the here-and-now.

 

read the full interview here

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