Sugar, Sugar

First of all, if you’re expecting GCSE results today, GOOD LUCK!

Facebook, Bebo and MySpace are going to be fizzing with messages today. My characters are taking their GCSEs in book 2, so I sort of know what people are going through. A bit. Fingers crossed for everybody!

Sugar - October edition

Sugar - October edition

We haven’t got an exam-taker in the family this year. We have next year (and 2 years after that, and 5 years after that, and six years after that …), but I was reminded about it because I was on Sugarscape. And I was on Sugarscape because Emily’s friend Sophie told me that she’d spotted a Threads competition in Sugar. Already! And it’s not even technically out yet! And so naturally I had to buy a copy, but I couldn’t find it anywhere in the magazine, and then Sophie explained (on Facebook) that it was in the Lad Mag section, which I hadn’t opened because it didn’t have Zac Efron OR Robert Pattinson on the cover and I’m not particularly into Nick Jonas (although I was subsequently fascinated to follow the timeline of his relationships with Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez, who I see daily on Disney channel, because my son makes me and who are up there with Taylor Swift in terms of Girls I Find Interesting)) and so I opened the Lad Mag section and there it was! On the centre page! Right next to the bit where they explained, with dates and quotes, about Nick Jonas and Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez (who are all just living a teenage novel plot at the moment – no wonder they’re writing songs about it). And the prize for the competition (apart from a signed copy from me) is Liz Earle Signature Facial, which looks REALLY nice, and there was a link to  a web page where you could enter the competition, so I was on that.

So if the GCSEs don’t go too well, and you need a pick-me-up, you know where to go to win that facial, and a book signed especially for you, with a fairy tale inside that will CHEER YOU UP INSTANTLY. I promise. Trust me.

Material girl

Angela Thurston printed silk

Angela Thurston

My last post may have given the impression that the recent break in proceedings was down to diligent editing of book 2. This is partly true, but not the whole story.

I have, for example, been up to Colchester for a fitting of a printed pink silk DRESS THAT’S NAMED AFTER ME. This is what happens when you meet people at Graduate Fashion Week – such as the fabulous Angela Thurston – and fall in love with their clothes. I will be wearing it (and golly, it’s lovely) with my LOUBOUTINS at my LAUNCH PARTY. Sigh sigh happy sigh.

Angela has been recommending other fashion friends to me. One of these is Sophie Gittins, who makes gorgeous, gorgeous shoes. And if I didn’t already have a pair of LOUBOUTINS (did I mention that already?), and hadn’t just spent all our money on a new bedroom and shed, I’d be ordering some directly.

Taylor Swift does lacy

Then there’s Bliss. Every now and again, just to check that my inner teenager is on track, I pick up a Bliss or a Sugar. And my inner teenager – in fact even my inner mother-of-four-er – is in love with Taylor Swift. In a crush sort of way. The hair, the eyes, the beautiful dresses, the never-a-bad-word wholesomeness, the sheer, gobsmacking talent. Love it all.

Which brings me to LOVE magazine. Loved the first LOVE (see older posts) and love the new LOVE, but not, I have to admit, quite so much. It’s all about youth, and as I’ve just written – and am still writing – a book about youth and fashion, it’s a teeny bit close to home. It’s also PACKED with advertising. You’ve seen a whole magazine’s worth of shoes and handbags before you even get to the contents page. Very gorgeous and whoever’s running the budget must be a VERY happy girl, but it was a bit like eating four eclairs in a row:  yummy, but possibly ever so slightly too fabulous? Is it possible to admit that I enjoyed Bliss marginally more?

When not being a fashion icon myself, of course, in my new FitFlops, as bought for me by Perfect Husband, who seems to have forgotten about the shed. 031_pistachio_2How on trend am I? (Actually, that’s a genuine question. Does anyone know or care about FitFlops at the moment? No idea, but they are AMAZING.) You walk around, with your feet looking good, and next thing you know, your calves are hurting like you’ve just done a major workout. Loving the shoes.

Which balance out my new discovery that I need glasses. Finally. I’ve been expecting it for years, but the moment has finally come. I was squinting at a Meg Cabot a couple of days ago and my husband lent me his reading glasses and suddenly the world looked better. I would mind, but this now gives me an excuse to choose funky new reading glasses. Yay!

The orange skirt. Yes!

The orange skirt. Yes!

And we’ve all been wondering about Cheryl vs Dannii, obviously. I mean, Cheryl’s going to win, we know that. But the question is, how? And by how much? So far, loving the orange skirt/purple shirt combo. But Daanii’s asymmetric white silk belted dress was very classy. Dannii looks good with one shoulder and if she susses this out and works it, Cheryl could have her work cut out. Can’t wait. And if there’s another act as amazing as Danyl Johnson (am I the ONLY person who can spell his name?), we have lots of actual contestant fun in store, too.

And what about news on Threads, some of you may be wondering. Well, my lovely stepdaughters put a link to the website (www.threadsthebook.com) on Facebook, which has somehow led to lots of traffic to this blog, and may be responsible for the book reaching a respectable (but still nevertheless five figures) position on Amazon. Must explain to my mother the difference between ‘position on Amazon’ (very high number) and number of copies sold (unknown number, but almost certainly MUCH lower than the other number).

And when I took the stepdaughters to Waterstones, Threads was a 3 for 2. Only very sad authors can get so excited that they take a picture of their book with a 3 for 2 sticker on, but luckily I am such a sad author, and I have it on my phone. I also signed the copies (I begged again, as you do). The woman next to me, who watched me sign them, picked up the top copy, flipped it over and put it back. LOVED that moment. Authorial feet firmly on ground. Actually, on sole of FitFlop, but pretty close.

Final note. The stepdaughters, who are gorgeous, are into Hollister. Which makes them look more gorgeous. This is Hollister the clothing company, I hasten to add, not Hollister the continence care company.  If you have, or are, a teenage girl, you heard it hear first. Well, you probably didn’t hear it here first but you heard it here eventually. Hollister is cool and flattering and not-as-expensive-as-Abercrombie&Fitch. Yay!

So it hasn’t been totally editing book 2, but it’s all what I like to call ‘material’. That’s what I tell myself, anyway.

…. no seriously, it IS

Threads in Waterstones

Threads in Waterstones

At some point, the novelty will wear off, but not yet. I was passing Waterstones in Kensington High Street (yes, where Nonie regularly shops and grabs hot chocolates), and snuck in to see if Threads was on the shelves.

And here it is! Two copies. On a regular bookshelf, just like regular books, written by regular authors. I like the fact that a customer has plonked a CorneliaFunke book in among the Bs. Go Barry! Chicken House is doing OK.

I later found a third copy abandoned on another shelf and rescued it. After a certain amount of begging, the nice book lady agreed to let me sign them so I did. Although remembering how to spell my own name under the circumstances was challenging.

AND they’ve sold a copy already. To a regular customer, who wasn’t a member of my family. Wow!

I was passing Waterstones on KHS because I’d just been chatting to Don Black about musicals for book 3, but had to do it snappily because he was expecting a call from SHIRLEY BASSEY. This is my new life.

Don was fabulous. Golly, I like talking to other writers. (Golly, I love writing ‘other writers’, as opposed to just ‘writers’). Don said at one point, ‘This is fine, but couldn’t you just work most of it out for yourself?’ Which is completely true. It’s lovely to talk to someone who understands the power of the imagination. But it was the little details that made all the difference. The names. The key emotional moments. I can’t wait to get it all into some sort of order and start planning the book around it.

But I can’t until I’ve finished book 2 edits, which is what I’m supposed to be doing now. Bye.

In all good bookshops

Somebody just speeded up the tape.

I AM IN A BOOKSHOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That may sound a bit of an odd confession for a writer – and I’m not actually in a bookshop, I’m at home, writing this blog – but MY BOOK IS IN A BOOKSHOP. Or, to be more precise, about twenty copies are, in a neat little pile next to the till. My local bookshop is SO kind to local authors.

Threads through the window of Village Books

I’m not sure about the official launch date, which is in three weeks, but Threads is definitely in the real world. My husband opened his Amazon copy this morning. That was quite exciting (he filmed it), but the bookshop thing was VERY VERY VERY exciting.

And this despite the fact that the bookshop was closed by the time I got there from the library and I had to peek through the window to see if Threads was there. I should stress that although I have many strange habits, looking through that window isn’t one of them. It’s only that I’d received an email from lovely bookshop lady, saying they’d arrived and asking me to sign some. I assumed they’d all still be in a box at the back, but no.

It was weird. Totally, totally weird, how special it was, after everything that’s happened recently. Partly because my lovely publisher decided to do the jacket in four colours, so it looks as if I’ve written loads already, and largely because exactly a year ago I was still writing one of the last drafts. Nobody had read it yet. I’d be going off to a coffee shop that no longer exists about six doors down from the bookshop and trying to compose the final chapters. I knew about some competition deadline, but couldn’t remember what the competition was and knew for an absolute fact that I wouldn’t win it anyway. I thought of Threads as my apprenticeship. Of course I had my moments when I pictured the movie premiere, but actually my biggest serious hope was to attract the attention of an agent and find out where to go from there.

And now, there it is. An artefact, and a very pretty one at that. In a pile. In an actual bookshop. That actual readers of books can go in and buy, any time they feel like it.

I’d go back tomorrow and gloat, but I’m off doing a research interview for book 3. How much do I love my job? VERY VERY MUCH. Wouldn’t you?

Go Giles! Go Chicken House!

My picture of the page for posterity

My picture of the page for posterity

Bookbrunch exclusive: ‘Threads, the debut novel by Sophia Bennett which won The Times/Chicken House Award, will be published in an exclusive hardback edition designed by fashion designer, Giles Deacon, in support of Save the Children. A donation of £1 per book – the author’s royalty – will be made to the Save the Children Fund, a charity close to Bennett’s heart and one which has engaged with what’s described as “a fashion fairytale”.’

It’s soooooo beautiful. But I can’t show you, because it’s embargoed! Seriously! How cool is that?

However, available from all good bookshops (I think) in October. To coincide with the Paris shows, Dah-ling.

Today I am mostly …

… A PUBLISHED AUTHOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My husband got an email from Amazon last night to say ‘Your copy of Threads by Sophia Bennett has BEEN DISPATCHED!’

(They didn’t put it in caps, but they really should have.) And if you go onto the site, it says those magic green words: ‘In stock’. Yay yay yay!

I’m rather confused about the whole 7 September launch date, but it turns out that only JK Rowling and Dan Brown need to worry about embargoes and bookshops opening at midnight. The rest of us just get going when the warehouse is ready, apparently, and are grateful for every copy shipped. Get yours now!

I am ALSO nervous and excited about two interviews I’ll be doing in September/October. With Serious Journalists. What will they ask me? Will I be able to think of anything useful to say? Will I ramble as much as I usually do and talk too fast? And most importantly, WHAT WILL I WEAR?

And ALSO nervous and excited about a possible radio interview. More on that later, if it ever happens. But basically, WOW!

And ALSO completely floored by news about the charity campaign that my lovely publisher is helping to organise. More on that later. I have SO MANY amazing bits of news that I can’t really share. Sorry. This is one of those ‘if you only knew … ‘ blogs. But more actual, factual, useful stuff tomorrow. Or maybe Tuesday.

However, I don’t have time to think about it all much. To the point that I forgot to tell my mother about the interviews for several days. Because the house is completely covered in building dust. Every single surface. Including surfaces I didn’t even know we had. And I have lots of work to do getting the Threads website ready for next week. And I really, really need to get on with the edits of book 2, or my editor will start to think that I’m inefficient, which I would HATE. And I’m talking to an Oscar-winning (and totally charming) lyricist on Thursday, about book 3. And there’s the dress for the cover of book 2. And the dress I’m getting made by the amazing Angela Thurston, whom I met at Graduate Fashion Week (as you do). And the INCREDIBLE HARDBACK COVER (more later …)

My husband says he can see smoke coming out of my brain.

Writing Threads feels long ago and far away. Did I really do it? And what have I let myself in for?

Watch this space.

Check out the Jacqueline Wilson quote. She really said that!

Check out the Jacqueline Wilson quote. She really said that!

Watch this space

Itching to share good news about Threads. Waiting to hear back from lovely publisher to see if I can share good news about Threads. Will post good news about Threads when lovely publisher gets back to me and says yes.

And no, I still haven’t sold it to Disney.

Meanwhile, Justine Windsor has just posted good news about The Scarlet Heart, so if you need good news RIGHT NOW, read Welshcake.

Hooray!