petite anglaise

October 8, 2007


Filed under: book stuff — petiteanglaiseparis @ 10:03 am

I just received the final version of the US cover, designed by Bo Lundberg – front panel above, full wraparound version below (publication set for summer 2008 – Spiegel & Grau). The Boy quite rightly pointed out that there are echoes of these opening credits.

If someone had told me just over a year ago that I’d be depicted wearing high heels – and possibly in the altogether, although it’s difficult to ascertain for sure – leaning against the Eiffel Tower on the front of a book (let alone MY book), I wouldn’t have believed it for a minute.

Comme quoi, life really can be stranger than fiction.

October 4, 2007


Filed under: book stuff — petiteanglaiseparis @ 9:45 am

Once upon a time, a very puzzled petite anglaise found an email from a certain Raymond Delauney in her inbox. It nestled in amongst all manner of bona fide correspondence from literary agents and publishers (a surreal situation, in itself) and I blush to admit that I sent a curt answer to the first one, taking it at face value, even though Raymond referred to me as “Kid” and it included such gems as: “I’ll get you a book deal, sunshine, but I’ll need a slice of the pie. You’re a good looking cookie and pretty smart too. I’ve seen your type before and I know exactly how to handle artistic types…” After the second email, however, the penny dropped and I decided that one of my virtual friends was pulling my leg – see this post – and did my best to unmask the scamster (to no avail).

Imagine my amusement when “Raymond” contacted me to ask whether I might give permission for our email exchange to be used in his book – a collection of spoof emails sent to individuals around the world…

I haven’t read it – my free copy is in the post – but the concept amuses me no end, and reminds me of another book I stumbled across recently, ‘Delete this at your peril’ by Bob Servant, a collection of emails between a (fictional) retired builder from Dundee and the spammers he attempted to lead up the garden path.

Seems like a new genre is emerging. Email Anthologies. Whatever next? Books of MSN transcripts?

October 2, 2007


Filed under: book stuff — petiteanglaiseparis @ 9:55 am

Proofreading is terminally dull.

Not only is it dull, but the process manages to instil in me all manner of doubt about whether any of the sentences I have written are actually any good at all.

My mother, who kindly volunteered to proofread my book in parallel on account of her eagle eyes and innate pedanticism (probably not a real word) telephones once a day so that we can amalgamate our corrections onto one manuscript. While I am extremely grateful for her help – she spotted a clanger I had missed which made me howl with embarrassment yesterday – it is an excruciating process which reminds me of when she used to re-read my English essays when I was a not very sweet – in fact mostly surly – sixteen.

“I’m a bit concerned about the phrase ‘clapped eyes on’ in paragraph five on page 35,” she says. “Isn’t that a bit too slangy and colloquial?”

“Er, I don’t think so,” I say, trying not to sound too sulky and defensive, “and the people who have read it already, like the nice bookseller who emailed me on facebook the other day to say she’d read one of those advance copies of the almost-finished-but-not really-copy edited-yet book said that she really liked the conversational tone. So I think it’s a good thing. Probably.”

“Oh, right,” says mother doubtfully. “Well, if you’re sure.”

I’m not sure. I couldn’t be less sure. In fact I no longer know what to think. I remember once having to write “gone away” on an enormous pile of post which had stacked up for some complete stranger at my student digs over the summer holidays. By envelope number forty-three, I stopped and began chewing the end of my Biro. I was suddenly no longer convinced that “gone” was really a word at all, and if it was, could that really be the correct spelling? If you write a word over and over again or think about it for too long, it inevitably starts seeming wrong, I find. I do believe I had to fetch a dictionary and verify the past participle of “to go” before I was able to continue.

All of which is a long-winded way of telling you that this week I am mostly forcing myself to re-read the manuscript very very slowly, taking regular breaks in the interests of sanity preservation, and having not infrequent crises of confidence.

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