• Michelle Vernal

September 2017


Well, it’s the second day of spring here in New Zealand, and it is freezing! I always think spring is a month full of contradictions. It’s uplifting after a long winter to have balmy days with lambs frolicking in the fields and the cherry blossoms bursting forth and to feel, well full of the joys of spring. Then, just when I dig out my floaty summer frocks and think seriously about doing something about the state of my lily white legs it all goes to custard. The skies are grey once more and the fire’s roaring, the poor lambs look frozen, and there’s a possibility of snow.

Trying to get your book published is full of contradictions too.  Nine times out of ten you can’t get a publishing contract without an agent and trying to get an agent is just as hard as getting your book published. I liken this conundrum to when Paul and I arrived in Dublin on our working holiday BC (before children). When we started work in the fair city we needed to open a bank account for our wages; we couldn’t do this without a household bill. We couldn’t get a household bill in our name without first having a flat for which we needed a bank account and so it went. We got there in the end. Just like with writing, perseverance eventually paid off.

In the nine years since I first wrote The Brazilian Job, I’ve been told by differing publishing houses that if I want a broad appeal, then I need to set my book overseas. No wait hang on, you need to write what you know. Actually, you need to write with more of a chick lit flavour, um we have too many authors in the chick lit genre, and it’s a hard one to sell. I finally figured out that I needed to stop listening to all the noise and just write the best books I can. We have a book that has hung around our various homes since I was a kid and it’s about the value in believing in yourself. It’s true; you do have to trust in your ability and believe in what you’re doing because that’s what ultimately keeps you going. Having said that though I take constructive criticism on board as writing is an ever evolving craft, especially if something pops up more than once in book reviews. It would be arrogant not to, and in doing so, my writing’s gotten stronger with each book. It must have because I got my Harper Impulse pub deal, with my last book The Traveller’s Daughter.  

My second book with HI is due out around January 12, 2018. It feels like it has been a long time coming, and although I try, I’m not the most patient of people. It’s a bit like those Tom Petty lyrics; the waiting is the hardest part. It’s a book I loved writing. Actually, I’ve loved writing each book, but I’m always a little more attached to the last. It’s got strong characters and an old lady whose voice came alive in my head when writing her. The story’s set in a small mining town in New Zealand, and I’m not wishing the months away, but (stamp of the foot) I just can’t wait to share it!

September, however, is also a month of being in limbo. I’m waiting for the final proof, cover design and title for said new novel and on the home front we’re in between packing and moving. It’s time to head back to the big smoke, Christchurch after eight happy years in rural Oxford. It’s a move we’re all ready to make and impatient to get on with, and while my poor hubby slogs it out in town making our new house pretty with his paint brush, me and the boys are climbing the walls on a grey Saturday in Oxford.

I love my kids to the moon and back and more but you know those days when you suggest going for a walk or a bike-ride, and the look of horror on their faces is akin to them being told they are going on a sugar-free diet or that the Wi-Fi isn’t working? Those days when the only time they move from the couch is to go and reenact WWE wrestling moves in the bedroom, the noise of which makes one shudder and think of mass destruction. I’m close to the edge ladies and seriously thinking I might have to get off the couch myself and put my Trudi Styler yoga DVD on. That will tip them over the edge. At the very least

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