The Potato Famine
Sometimes the obvious is staring you in the face. As many of you are aware, New York Orphan is intended to be the ‘first’ in a series of novels that trace the life of Daniel Flynn. I’m currently working on the second in the series and many of you keep asking when it will be ready. For a number of very good reasons it is behind schedule, but I do have some good news.
All the writing advice I have been reading for a while has suggested that the best way to get new readers into reading a series is to offer something relevant for free. New York Orphan is already out in the market and doing quite well so my dilemma was what to do. Then I stopped and thought about some of the questions you’ve all been asking me. Of course, you all want to know what happens next, but many of you have also asked what happened before. What drove the family to set sail for New York in the first place? Now, that’s what I’m working on at the moment!
The book will be a novella rather than a full-length novel and will pick up Daniel’s family story the Christmas before they set sail. You’ll get the chance to meet Uncle Patrick and his fiddle, and Uncle Seamus who would wager on anything, as well as getting a better understanding of life during the potato famine in Ireland. The book already has a title, but you will have to wait a while for me to tell you what it is.
Once again, apologies to my family. The Irish music will be playing on the background and while I’m not writing I might just be singing along.
New York Orphan is available HERE
I’m writing this from a village which seems to be cut off by snow at the moment, so what better to do than celebrate World Book Day.
Reading is something we take for granted in England. If books were scarce we would still treasure them. If we didn’t have freedom of the written word, we’d fight for it. It never ceases to amaze me when I have book stalls, and try to talk to people about my books, how often I get the apologetic response ‘I know I really ought to read more, but…’ Fill in the blank. ‘I spend the time watching television / on Facebook / asleep.’
Let’s spend today remembering how privileged we are to have easy access to books. There are still many in the world today who haven’t.
I am delighted on this World Book Day to be featured on Veronica Bright’s blog I’m also part of a World Book Day feature in the York Press, although it looks unlikely I shall be able to get out of the village to buy one.
I was equally delighted to find two five star reviews for New York Orphan, one on each of the US and UK Amazon sites. I do have to warn you though, the consensus of opinion is that you will need to buy a box of tissues as well as the book if you plan to read it.
Happy World Book Day to you all.
Happy New year to you all. I’ve already started the year by spending some time on my objectives and breaking everything down into manageable chunks. This week I clear the decks and next week I start the research and planning of the second novel in the Flynn and Reilly series. I could need no more encouragement than a recent Amazon review from an American reader who, having got to the end of New York Orphan immediately looked for the next in the series and is disappointed to find they have to wait. Thank you, dear reader, that means a huge amount to me.
Setting a timescale to complete the research and planning for this next one is probably the most important thing I could do. I LOVE research and the subject matter for the next book is something I could lose myself in for a long time if I let that happen. However, I have readers to please and other deadlines to meet too so the first five thousand words will be on the page by the end of February. I shall still sneak some more research in along the way to fill in some details, but the major structure will need to be in place by then.
I shall update the current book information on my website and you can watch progress as things develop. You are well within your rights to prod me if you think progress has slowed. I might even give you some snippets of preview too, both of the research itself and of the novel as it takes shape.
It’s going to be an exciting year!
If you have not yet read New York Orphan it’s available HERE
There is nothing more frustrating than having to hold yourself back from a project you’re excited about. I can’t wait to get started on the next novel in the Flynn and Reilly series. From the feedback I’m getting, many of you want me to do that too.
It’s wonderful for an author to have people finish a book and ask how soon they can start the next one. The second in the series will take up the story not long after the first leaves off when the campaign for votes for women in the US started to pick up.
You might ask why I can’t start it now. Well, apart from trying to fit Christmas in and having a busy family life, I’m just putting the finishing touches to a completely different book that will be out very soon. The Complete Entlebucher Mountain Dog Book has been a labour of love about the wonderful breed of dog with which I share my home. I hope to bring you news of its release very soon.
There’s still time to order New York Orphan in time for Christmas, so if you know anyone who enjoys a compelling novel do order your copy HERE.
Thank you. I don’t have words to say how grateful I am that so many of you attended the New York Orphan book launch. For an author to not have the adequate words is unusual but says something of the overwhelming feeling of gratitude and humility it has left me feeling… quite apart from the exhaustion.
Waterstones told me it was one of their more successful book launches and that on the basis of the number of copies you all bought I was right up there on their daily best sellers list.
For those who could not attend I will be uploading a video of part of the evening shortly should you want to watch. I’m not sure I want to watch myself. I had not realised just how much I talk with my hands until I saw the pictures of the evening! I guess the more passionate about something I am, the more I use my hands.
The team at Waterstones were wonderful and it was a pleasure to work with them.
If you are reading the book and enjoy it then please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads, they really do help. If you are not reading it yet and would like to then you can either buy a
With Rev. Ruth Duck who unwittingly inspired the idea for New York Orphan.
copy HERE or if you want a signed copy then the UK price is £10.99 including postage. For overseas sales you will need to email me for a price. Signed copies are available by following the below .
Book Launch Party 15th November
Everything is in place for the Book Launch Party in Waterstones York next Wednesday. I’m looking forward to seeing a number of you there, if you have not let me know you’re coming yet then there is still time. It’s from 7pm to 8.30pm at Waterstones on Coney Street, York on Wednesday 15th November. The evening will involve a glass of wine, an interview with me about New York Orphan, a reading from the book and of course a book signing. It’s my first every bookshop launch and I must admit it’s exciting and scary in equal measures.
If you cannot make the evening then the book is available to order through your local book shop, library or online HERE.
I am delighted to say that little by little reviews are appearing on Amazon and Goodreads, all of which help others to find the book, so thank you to all of you who leave reviews. Here are a few of the early comments:
‘It is very well researched and imagined, and the tale is finely spun – the author is quite a storyteller. It is also tremendously visual – you will feel as if you are watching a movie as the story unrolls.’ Catterwall Amazon.com
‘Once you start New York Orphan, you won’t want to stop.’ Bookworm Amazon.com
‘Very moving, great characters and beautifully written.’ The BookBreather Amazon.co.uk
‘A can’t put down book,well written, you may need the tissues handy.’ Barbara Lane Amazon.co.uk
If you have not been able to listen live to either of my recent radio interviews, then the one on BBC Radio York is still online HERE I’m one hour and thirty-nine minutes into the programme. I’ve also included a short podcast about the book on my website HERE
Today’s the day that New York Orphan goes on sale. It’s been several years in the writing and production and now it’s launched on its journey into the world. Of course, the launch party is not until 15th November in Waterstones York and if you would like to come do let me know.
The day a book goes on sale is one of nail biting and trepidation for an author. Yes, I do believe this is the best thing I have written to date, but waiting to hear what you all think is a very nerve-racking experience.
The way of the world is that authors depend on reviews to get their books more widely read. Honest reviews are what is important, rather than just flattery. Readers are too discerning not to see through flannel. I’d be very grateful to all of those of you reading the book in these early stages if you could post reviews on Amazon and /or Goodreads. It makes a world of difference.
Anyway, to all of you reading it I sincerely hope you enjoy it and that the characters come to life as much for you as they have for me. I shall be interested to hear from any of you and, given that I shall start writing the next instalment in a few weeks’ time if you have comments and suggestions they might prove very useful.
And if you want to hear me on BBC Radio York this Thursday afternoon from 1.40pm on the Anna And Adam Show you can tune in via the internet if you aren’t local.
New York Orphan
From fleeing the Irish Potato Famine, to losing his parents on the ship to New York, seven-year-old Daniel Flynn knows about adversity. As Daniel sings the songs of home to earn pennies for food, pick-pocket Thomas Reilly becomes his ally and friend, until he too is cast out onto the street. A destitute refugee in a foreign land, Daniel, together with Thomas and his sister Molly, are swept up by the Orphan Train Movement to find better lives with families across America. For Daniel will the dream prove elusive? How strong are bonds of loyalty when everything is at stake? Based on real history, the strength of the characters in New York Orphan will move you with their desperate plight to survive. A gripping story of love, loss, betrayal and bonds of kinship.
You can buy it online HERE or any Bookstore or Library can order it in if they do not already stock the title.
New York Orphan goes on sale in just eight days’ time. It’s already available to preorder on Amazon as an ebook, so it delivers to your Kindle on publication day. You can also order it now through your local bookshop or library and if you’re quick could order it direct from me to come out on publication day.
The Goodreads giveaway is still running, so if you want to try your luck at winning a copy you can enter that HERE.
I’ll be on Radio York on Thursday 26th October at about 1.40pm talking to Anna Wallace about the book, so do tune in.
What’s more, if you’re free then please do EMAIL ME for a place to attend the official Launch Party at Waterstones York on Wednesday November the 15th at 7.00pm. I’ll be talking about the book and of course doing a book signing. You’ll even get a glass of wine while you’re there.
I am running a giveaway over on Goodreads. The winner will be decided the day before the launch of New York Orphan so that the winner’s copy can be on the way to them the day of the launch. To take part just click on the giveaway details below.
New York Orphan - Book Launch
You are invited to the launch of New York Orphan! It’s on Wednesday November 15th at 7pm in Waterstones, 15 Coney Street York.
The book itself will go on sale from October 23rd and will be available in both ebook and paperback. You will be able to buy it from Amazon or your local bookstore or ask for it at your local library. The ebook can be preordered HERE now and preorders for the paperback will begin on 1st October.
The launch event itself will run to around 8.30pm and include a glass of wine, an interview about the book, reading from the book and questions, as well as the opportunity to purchase a signed copy.
If you would like to attend the Waterstones event then please r.s.v.p with the numbers attending to firstname.lastname@example.org
New York Orphan
From fleeing the Irish Potato Famine, to losing his parents on the ship to New York, seven-year-old Daniel Flynn knows about adversity. As Daniel sings the songs of home to earn pennies for food, pick-pocket Thomas Reilly becomes his ally and friend, until he too is cast out onto the street.
A destitute refugee in a foreign land, Daniel, together with Thomas and his sister Molly, are swept up by the Orphan Train Movement to find better lives with families across America. For Daniel will the dream prove elusive?
How strong are bonds of loyalty when everything is at stake?
Based on real history, the strength of the characters in New York Orphan will move you with their desperate plight to survive. A gripping story of love, loss, betrayal and bonds of kinship.
New York Orphan will be on sale from October this year. Sign up for updates and an invitation to the launch.
Which book are you going to put at the top of your Christmas wish list? Which book are you going to buy for everyone from your uncle to your best friend? Which book will you get an invitation to the launch event for?
The answer to all of those questions is, of course, New York Orphan. It has been years in the researching and the writing and now I am delighted that you can be one of the first to see the book cover and join in the excitement of building up to the launch.
For the next few months, I am going to tease you, tickle your literary appreciation bone, (trust me you have one) and leave you desperate to start reading as soon as it hits the shelves.
The book cover has been designed by Katie Stewart of Magic Owl Designs, and brings together key aspects of the book. It is 1853 in New York. Seven-year-old Daniel Flynn’s family left the Irish Potato Famine behind, in search of a better life. As happened to many children, Daniel’s parents died on the six-week crossing to America and he arrived on the wharf in New York as an orphan.
The current refugee crisis is nothing new. There were thousands of children on the streets of New York at that time, their families having fled from war, revolution and famine in Europe. New York Orphan, whilst a fictional account of how life played out, is deeply rooted in historical research and it’s shocking.
To make sure you don’t miss out on the build-up to the release of the book, then either sign up to my newsletter HERE, or like my Facebook page HERE in order to receive the latest news, and of course, your launch invitation.
Being Katniss Everdeen
Reality is not always a pretty place to live. Day to day life can be mundane or in some cases very difficult and we all find different ways to deal with that. Some people lose themselves in the bottom of a tumbler of whiskey and others become addicted to computer games, losing themselves in realms of warlocks or druids. For some the lure of the Penny Black draws them in like a siren, but for me it’s books.
I am a bookaholic. I’m not a reformed case, unless you count moving from exclusively paper to electronic and audio as reform. This may shock you, I’ll be honest, I don’t want to reform. There, I’ve said it. I’m happy here. When I’m not reading books I’m writing them. When I’m not writing, I’m planning them. For the last couple of weeks I have been Katniss Everdeen.
I’ve been rereading the remarkable Hunger Games Trilogy and for those all too brief and elusory hours I have not been a middle-aged woman dealing with real world issues. For those precious, stolen moments I have been a young participant in the Hunger Games, living by my wits and an expert with a bow and arrow. Every so often one of the dogs has interrupted to remind me they, if not I, are real and need feeding. Then reluctantly, I’ve laid down my bow and come back to reality. Looking on the bright side, when I’m writing fiction, I can get lost in the world of my characters for months. At least reading a book only takes me a few hours.
At the moment I am getting increasingly excited about planning the launch of my new novel. I want to do everything NOW, but of course that is not possible. You the readers want the cover to look brilliant (and it does) and you want to be able to read the book uninterrupted by errors (which is in process). You might even think you’d like an invite to the launch (which is being planned). All those things take time.
In the meantime, books are a great and largely safe place to spend time. They can fuel the imagination, and broaden horizons. They can inform, challenge ideas and inspire. In my opinion they are as relevant now as they have ever been and if spending a few hours being Katniss Everdeen gives me the strength and courage to face the world then Katniss Everdeen I will be!