The French version of Try Not to Breathe (Retiens ton souffle) was published this week by City Editions. This is the only translation that I have any grasp of the language (that’s putting it kindly) so I’m intrigued to see how far my schoolgirl French gets me with it…
Okay, I’m waiting for something and consequently finding it impossible to focus on my work in progress so instead I’m going to write… about writing. I think this is where I insert a gif of a snake eating itself and procrastinate for even longer via a deep dive into Giphy.
Since I was published, I’ve received a lot of interesting questions from readers, especially those working on books of their own. Something that comes up a lot is how I write, my process for turning this:
So I thought I would attempt to boil it down and show you the raw ingredients.
Yes, I am deliberately making it sound as if Aaron Sorkin is giving me personal one to one advice. Of course he isn’t really. But I kind of feel like he is.
I’ve been taking his online screenwriting masterclass from the aptly named Masterclass.com and it’s exceptionally inspiring and useful, not just for fledgling screenwriting attempts, but for writing in general.
There are 35 lessons in total and I’m not going to blabber the contents all over the place (not least because I’d get in trouble) but one lesson in particular really stood out. It’s called “Writing Habits”.
I got my first Goodreads review in June 2015. It was a bolt from the blue. Being a debut novelist, every step of the process was a mystery and this was just one more. I had no idea that I’d get a review eight months before the book was even released. Fittingly – as it arrived a month before I was due to move with my family to Amsterdam – it was in Dutch. I copied and pasted it into Google Translate and – thank goodness – it was a positive one. I could breathe.
I forwarded the link to pretty much everyone I knew. And the next one, and the one after that. I didn’t realise, I didn’t ever consider, that they would ever appear too quickly and in too great a number to keep sending them individually to the many people who worked on the book with me. But they did.
I refreshed the page hourly for weeks, probably months. Every time someone liked it, I wanted to thank them personally. Every time someone didn’t, I wanted to explain, plead the case for my characters. I LUCKILY managed to do neither. Eventually, I learned just not to look. It’s not good for the heart, and definitely not good for the work in progress.
But I do log on to answer any questions or update my author page and so I have seen the review number tick steadily up. And I still can’t believe that it’s hit this number, but it has. And I’m incredibly grateful. To everyone who has taken the time, enthused and fed back. THANK YOU. I promise you, if you ever wondered, authors are grateful to each of you even if we can only look at what you wrote through our fingers after a couple of tequila shots.
I have three signed copies of the large print edition of Try Not to Breathe up for grabs. If you know someone who would benefit from the larger text, please do enter to win a copy for them. And, of course, you’re welcome to enter for yourself too!
Big, big day. But first, a little mood music.
My debut novel Try Not to Breathe is out in paperback across the UK and Ireland today. There are posters in tube stations. Posters in tube stations! There are special promotions planned (more on those soon), and you can pick up my book in all good online and offline bookshops, WHSmith and most supermarkets including Sainsbury’s! (I’ll not wang on about the significance of that again.)
The stupid thing is, I don’t really know what to say. This is everything. I think somewhere along the line, I must have rolled a six.
Thank you to everyone who has already bought or borrowed the book, thanks to everyone who has talked about Alex and Amy, encouraged others to buy their story and put up with me awkwardly promoting myself in a way that does not come naturally to a Brit.
In May 2010, I started writing it.
In December 2013, I finished it. Kind of.
In January 2014, I found my agent.
In October 2014, Atlantic/Corvus bought it.
In January 2016, the hardback and ebook were released in the UK.
Now finally, over six years after I first sat down and typed the (original) first words, “the ward was trapped in a pregnant pause,” Try Not to Breathe is coming out in paperback.
14 July, 2016. It’s going to be one hell of a day!
PRE-ORDER FROM AMAZON
To celebrate Try Not to Breathe being Great Northern and ThamesLink’s July book club choice and the one year anniversary of Books on the Go, they’re giving people the chance to win a trip to a beautiful villa in Tuscany, Italy thanks to their partners at Tuscany Now & More.
To find out more about the book club, read a sample of Try Not to Breathe and enter the competition, visit Thames Link Railway.
UK residents only.
This competition is now closed. Thank you to all who entered. The lucky winner was Kelly A from the UK.
Enter your details to be in with a chance of winning a special signed copy of Try Not to Breathe on CD. This is the full UK version of the book, narrated fantastically by Jot Davies, Lucy Middleweek and Katy Sobey.
Try Not to Breathe is being released in paperback just in time for the summer holidays. You can pre-order your copy now from Amazon, WHSmith and all good bookshops.