Archive for June, 2014

My website has gone Amazon free. It isn’t a boycott and I’m not asking people to avoid buying my books (or anyone else’s) from Amazon. But the thing is, if you want to buy a book from Amazon you know where to find them.

It’s easy to put a link to Amazon on an author website. It’s easy for readers to click on the link and buy a book. But it’s also all too easy to forget that there are independent booksellers out there struggling to make a living and wonderful chains of bricks and mortar bookshops where you can go and browse and discover a book you might never have come across otherwise.

And if we keep doing the easy thing, there might come a time when that is no longer possible. When all the specialist knowledge and absolute passion for books in that beautiful independent bookshop in your town may no longer be available. Or when I won’t be able to take my 9-year-old to Waterstones for the afternoon and let him lose himself in a world of books.

I don’t want to live in that world, which is why I’ve decided to take the ‘easy’ Amazon buttons off my website. If you want to buy my books from there, that’s fine, you know where to find them.

Instead I’ve put on a button for The Hive www.hive.co.uk a wonderful website where you can buy books and have them delivered to your local independent bookshop or straight to your house. And either way, your purchase will support independent booksellers.

And a button for Waterstones, who will again deliver the book to your door, if you don’t want to go in and sit in their cafe with a hot chocolate and good book you’ve just bought, that is.

And in Independent Booksellers Week, I’m very proud to be promoting places where books really matter on my website.

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Cover for The Marriage Mender

Posted June 19, 2014 By Linda

 

The_Marriage_Mender Cover

 

So, here it is, the cover for my new novel The Marriage Mender, which will be published by Quercus on August 28.

We’ve gone for a different look from the previous jackets, something maybe a bit more grown-up and sophisticated for what is my most serious book yet (still with a dose of humour thrown in though!).

We wanted to try to convey a modern story of a marriage thrown into crisis by the arrival of someone from the past. Alison, who is a relationship counsellor, thinks she can handle the arrival of husband Chris’s ex Lydia. But there are secrets in the past and lot of things which have gone unsaid. Things which, when they are said, threaten to destroy their relationship and their happy family life.

Anyway, would love to know what you think of the cover and I’ll be providing a lot more info about the new book in the run up to publication.

A different sort of happy ending

Posted June 16, 2014 By Linda

The news that former Formula One champion Michael Schumacher is out of his coma and has left hospital in Grenoble after six months is to be welcomed. But anyone who thinks that’s the end of the story is sadly mistaken. For Michael, and thousands others like him who suffer traumatic brain injuries every year, this is very much just the beginning.

When I wrote my novel And Then It Happened I knew I wanted the main male character Adam to fall in to a coma after an accident at work. What I didn’t realise until I began the lengthy research involved, was that when people do emerge from a long-term coma or persistent vegetative state, there is an incredibly tough rehabilitation period in front of them and they are unlikely ever to return to their former selves.

When I interviewed Andrew James, Consultant in Neuropsychology and Rehabilitation at Daniel Yorath House in Leeds, he explained that there are likely to be significant changes in personality and one of the most difficult things for relatives to come to terms with is that the person who suffered the traumatic brain injury won’t be coming back to them.

Which is why when my editor at the time, having read my first draft, asked if Adam could not simply go back to how he was before and proved the requisite happy ending, I had to say no. Unlike Hollywood films which show people snapping out of a coma and instantly returning to normal, I wanted my novel to be a realistic portrayal of traumatic brain injury. And sometimes real life doesn’t have happy endings.

Each year in the UK almost 12,000 people will suffer a head injury so severe that they will remain unconscious for six hours or more. After five years, only fifteen per cent of those will have returned to work.

From working with organisations like the Brain Injuries Rehabilitation Trust www.birt.co.uk and Headway, the brain injury association, www.headway.org.uk I discovered the amazing work that goes on behind the scenes to help people rebuild their lives following traumatic brain injury.

And I also learnt something about the heartache which their loved ones go through when they realise that emerging from a coma or persistent vegetative state does not mean getting back to normal.

I tried to get that over in the emotional scenes which Adam’s wife Mel went through in And Then It Happened. And I am reminded of it every time I see photos of Michael Schumacher’s wife. The road ahead is a long and unfamiliar one. And learning to accept the new person who has emerged from the coma and love them is an incredibly important part of that.