New book jacket!

I’m bouncing up and down on my diving board with excitement to be able to share the new cover for The Woman Who Fell in Love for a Week; I think it’s stunning and I hope you agree. Hannah, the clever designer at Sphere, has worked her magic to create something that reflects the book perfectly – it’s bright, warm and sexy, beckoning readers to dive straight in.

I’m an absolute pain for a designer to work with because I have a rudimentary but dangerous understanding of Photoshop, a passion for amateur art (I’m addicted to The Big Painting Challenge right now) and I’m a terrible book jacket snob. When a new cover is sent through by Sphere with a proud ‘tra-la’ after many hours of in-house think-tanking, image research and hard work, I inevitably reach for my mouse with indecent haste to rearrange it, whirling the selection brush, eyedropper and rectangular marquees like a tabloid picture editor adding thigh gaps to fashion spreads. I can never stop myself doing this although I’ve long since realised that it’s just a part of the psychological process of letting go. It’s hard for published authors to accept that we’re only responsible for what is on the inside of books, not the outside, especially when market forces mean not all book covers can be beautiful, unique works of art, but must by necessity fall into derivative trends. Having seen so many wonderful female writers’ books drown in a sea of cartoon pink when Chick Lit was at its height, I’ve also developed an illogical twitch about covers that look alike, but right now I keep standing back from this one in awe. I truly love it. Looking at it feels like high summer has arrived early.

Not that I’d wish spring away, this magical, bud-bursting turnaround when we start accelerating towards longer days, painted toenails and balmy evenings. Last weekend my arms were finally liberated from long sleeves in the sunlit garden of the future forever home where we’re battling brash, woodworm, damp and an ever-dwindling renovation budget. On reflection, wrestling brambles in a polo shirt was probably a mistake given this season’s first freckles are now cross-hatched with red scars from wrist to elbow, but they’re happy reminders of the life waiting outside while I work in the dairy of the Smallest Farmhouse in Warwickshire on creative night shifts. My writing base at the forever home will be a small room behind the garage, and I wistfully stand in the spot where it will be every time I visit, much to the consternation of Ted the resident guinea fowl whose exotic bird brain can’t fathom why the woman who should be feeding him keeps roosting amid piles of hard-core and rubble close to the septic tank. It’s where my imagination will take off, I tell him. And in years to come, after many months of sitting in that spot day and night, alternating between despair and delight as a book takes shape, I hope the end result gets to wear a jacket as lovely as the one I’m revealing today.

I must quickly add a footnote about the quote from Jojo Moyes, who’s been so generous in her praise for The Woman Who Fell in Love for a Week, which is a huge compliment. Her book blog recommending it amongst other fabulous reads is here . I’ve adored Jojo’s writing since I stayed up all night over a decade ago to finish a proof copy of Sheltering Rain (which later became the inspiration behind A Horse for Emma, an addictive read that every character in Tongue in Cheek drops in the bath and feels is their own private discovery).  To be bigged up by such a terrific writer is one of those ‘whoop’ moments that no guinea fowl will ever understand, but I know lots of readers – and authors – will appreciate is very special indeed.

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