I'm really excited about the next stage. This is where the book actually becomes a book. Bloomsbury has some amazing plans for the hardback copy of The Bone Season, which I think is going to be really beautiful. Speaking of which, the cover will definitely be released soon! I'll see if I can get an idea of the date when I visit the team tomorrow.
I'm afraid it's another short entry this week – I'm still really busy with coursework and Christmas things at college, so I'm going to save my big blog on editing the week after next (Sunday 2 December), when term is finished and everything is wrapped up.
Do you think you'll be relieved to finally put it behind you? (Melissa)
I have mixed feelings about finishing the edits. I think I could edit the book forever, like I did with Aurora, but there comes a point where you have to let a novel go and make its own way in the world. The Bone Season is a book that will never truly be finished, but I think there's a point at which you have to force yourself to stop editing, because you could play with dialogue and scenes until the end of time. I've edited it about six times overall. I want it to be the absolute best it can be by the time it gets to you. It's very nerve-racking to send your work out to be read and reviewed. Wonderful, but nerve-racking. I know I'll read the finished copy and think there are things I could have done better, things I could have phrased differently, but overall I'm very pleased with the final MS. It's improved a lot since I first gave it to my agent. I'm really excited about the proofs being made up.
When will you begin to write the next book in the series? (Melissa)
Already started! I've written about 50K words of the sequel. I'm not going to write any more until after I graduate in August 2013, as I need to concentrate on my exams – and then on The Bone Season coming out – but I have a good foundation to work on.
Have any of the publishing companies mentioned whether or not the title will change when published in other languages? (DWD Johnson)
Not yet. My foreign publishers haven't been able to start the translations, as the edits have taken a little longer than expected. Once it's all ready to go, my agent will be able to send the MS off to them. It'll be interesting to see how they translate the title, as The Bone Season has two meanings in English. I'm really looking forward to working with translators, and so pleased that so many people will be able to read it in their own language.
What does your general desk/writing setup look like? (DWD Johnson)
At uni I have a desk with a lamp for reading, a kettle and coffee-making ingredients on my right, and papers all over the place. I've lost the fine art of filing my uni work over the last three years. At home, I have a small office, with my books on shelves (and in every single cupboard) and my desktop computer. When I eventually move out, I'd really love to have an old-fashioned writing space with a gramophone and a candlestick phone. Further evidence that I was born in the wrong century. I also keep notebooks by my bed, as I tend to have my best ideas in the middle of the night.
It's rare that I recommend a new book – I spend most of my time examining books from hundreds of years ago – but I really feel compelled to recommend this one. I just re-read it and fell in love with it all over again.
Mimi by Lucy Ellman
Bloomsbury (14 February 2013)
Mimi and I have a history. When I was working for David, he handed me a manuscript from an existing client, Lucy Ellman, and asked me to write a book report on it to see if I thought it was worth publishing. I read it over two days, not knowing what to expect. It is now one of the only books about which I am outright evangelical. I fell in love with everything about it: the narrator, the love story, the courageous message, the humour. On the surface it doesn't sound like a book I'd ever read – I'm always on my guard when "love story" is introduced into the blurb, just because there are so few romances I enjoy – but I'm so glad I did. I was over the moon when I found out it had been picked up by Bloomsbury.
I'm very proud to have had a hand in helping this book to publication, and it's one of the only novels about which I am fairly evangelical. I recognise the unavoidable smell of bias – Lucy Ellmann has the same publisher and the same agent as I do – but I honestly can't get over this book, and I'd never be this enthusiastic if I didn't love it. Ellmann has a quirky style that turns this short novel into an energetic, almost hallucinogenic experience. I couldn't stop reading, and I had to read again when I got hold of an ARC. It's very funny, touching, gritty, and has a powerful ending. Mimi is released in the UK on Valentine's Day.