I've been longing to write about the new book for ages, and now, having sent the manuscript off to the typesetter this week, I finally can. I've written before about how it feels to finish a novel (here, for instance), but looking back at that earlier post, I have to tell you this one felt very different.
Oh, the final days of writing passed, once again, in a blur of words and ideas and pictures in my head and fingers that wouldn't type fast enough and -- I admit it -- tears when some of my most-loved characters reached the ends of their journeys; but writing Secret Keeper was such a joyous experience.
Of course there were periods during its composition when I felt utterly confuddled and couldn't make the puzzle pieces fit together, but I'm learning that's just part and parcel of this wonderful, frustrating, exhilarating book-writing thing.
There were times, too, of enormous thrill. When things just worked, or threads I hadn't expected to belong together surprised me, or really difficult sections finally came right. Most of all though, this book reminded me what I love about writing. Not just writing, but storytelling. It reminded me that I write because there is nothing on earth I love more than disappearing inside the world of a made-up story.
And The Secret Keeper is a story. Those have always been my favourite types of books. It's a mystery with a big old secret at its heart and characters whom I love. It will be published in the UK and US in October 2012, Australia and New Zealand in November 2012, and I'm excited to say I'll be touring in each country through October and November (with a whistlestop visit to Frankfurt, too). Tour dates and locations to come as soon as I have them, along with publication details for everywhere else.
The Secret Keeper
1961: On a sweltering summer's day, while her family picnics by the stream on their Suffolk farm, sixteen-year-old Laurel hides out in her childhood tree house dreaming of a boy called Billy, a move to London, and the bright future she can't wait to seize. But before the idyllic afternoon is over, Laurel will have witnessed a shocking crime that changes everything.
2011: Now a much-loved actress, Laurel finds herself overwhelmed by shades of the past. Haunted by memories, and the mystery of what she saw that day, she returns to her family home and begins to piece together a secret history. A tale of three strangers from vastly different worlds--Dorothy, Vivien and Jimmy--who are brought together by chance in wartime London and whose lives become fiercely and fatally entwined...
(I held this post back briefly while I waited until I had all three covers to share with you. Aren't they beautiful? So different, and yet each one captures a different aspect of the story. Do you have a favourite?)