Last Thursday I grabbed the opportunity to go to the launch of Lucy Ribchester’s second novel, The Amber Shadows, at Waterstones in Edinburgh. It is set at Bletchley Park which was the centre of WW2 codebreaking.
The launch was imaginative and thoroughly splendid. Lucy said later that she was worried that no-one would come, and she had asked Waterstones to reduce the seating available because it wouldn’t look good if the place was deserted. In the event, the room was packed, with standing room only. I counted a few famous authors in among the crowd.
Lucy and her mum had spent some time earlier in the week making typewriter key chocolates for all the people attending. It was interesting that the vowels disappeared first!
Four Lindy hop dancers twisted and spun at the front to music from the 1940s while we all got comfortable with a glass of water or wine. After that Lucy began by doing a reading from the novel (something I may have to get used to myself), and then spoke a little about how she goes about researching the period she is writing about. She watches movies which were being seen at the time, reads novels contemporary to the period, and listens to the music which would have been played in dance halls or perhaps on the radio. In short, it’s a sort of immersion technique. I don’t think she went as far as writing the novel on a period-correct typewriter, but I’ll ask next time I see her.
In the audience for the launch was a special guest with whom Lucy had spoken a number of times as part of her research – Ailsa Maxwell was a Hut 6 Machine Room Codebreaker at Bletchley Park. Simple arithmetic leads me to think that she is now in her nineties.
There were A LOT of books.
The Hourglass Factory was available as well (I recommend it as an excellent read).
We all queued to buy our signed books at the end, with many people buying multiple copies to give to family and friends.
This is Lucy, dressed for the period.
I really enjoyed it, can you tell?
My own book has now reached the 80% funded mark. I’m sure Lucy won’t mind me telling you that she is one of the pledgers.
When I signed the contract with Unbound I understood that the funding period would be for 90 days, and if it’s not funded in that time the project comes to an end and monies are returned to the pledgers. Everything is going very well and I am incredibly grateful for all your support.
Week 1 – we reached 54%
Week 2 – we reached 68%
Week 3 – we reached 78%
As I write this, we have now reached the magical 80% mark in just 23 days.
In order to be fully funded we need to raise another 36 pledges, or just over £700 – so that equates to 70 people at £10. Other yarn + book pledges are available too.
At this point I really need to ask for your help. The book won’t be published unless we reach the target. It’s very likely that you have already pledged (thank you), but if you haven’t, I hope you will consider it.
And if you can tell anyone and everyone who might be interested, that would be a great help.
The book is completed, the manuscript is now waiting for the next stage of structural and copy editing and that’s what all the pledges are for, they make it possible for it to leap from manuscript to published novel.
I’ve written a couple of Shed Updates (which are public, so anyone can read them), so please make a cup of tea and take five minutes to read more about the process and the characters.
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