Friday, 27 February 2009

Highgate Book Group and Mostly Books Abingdon

Very busy day yesterday as I did two different events, Highgate book group in the morning, and Mostly Books, a fantastic bookshop in Abingdon near Oxford.

The ladies in Highgate were delightful, most of them had read the book so we could get quite in depth, and many had been to Venice so we had a good old chat about the city too. I came away with a lovely bunch of flowers, so thank you to Sandra and all the ladies for such a nice tribute.

In the evening it was off to Abingdon and a great bookshop called Mostly Books - a great olde worlde shop with some fantastic stock, lovely staff and some hidden 'Hogwart-y' back rooms crammed with children's books. A real jewel, so visit if you're in the area! The evening was quite relaxed and very enjoyable - I had the great pleasure to meet the other speaker, Bethan Roberts, acclaimed author of 'The Pools' and hear her read beautifully from 'A Good Plain Cook', her latest book. I spoke about the Glassblower briefly and did a short reading, then we both took questions, which were all very interesting and be expected from a literate bookshop audience! Thanks to Mark and all the staff at this great little shop, and to my siblings Veronica and Rick for coming along to support me and calm the nerves!

Thursday, 19 February 2009


This morning had a fabulous time at Floris in London's Jermyn street, where I'm having a bespoke perfume created to launch The Madonna of the Almonds. It's a terrific honour because Floris is such a distinguished firm, they've had a Royal Warrant for centuries, and, on a personal note, my Gran used to use Floris! We met the lovely perfumier, Shelagh who has a treasure trove of an office, with ranks of antique bottles and vast ledgers detailing orders from the likes of Lawrence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, and every Royal you can imagine, both foreign and domestic! Floris has a bit of a literary history as their no.89 scent was Ian Fleming's favourite scent, so he had James Bond wear it in the novels. Anyway, Shelagh had read the book really closely and had picked out just about every olfactory reference in there, and soon we were sniffing dipsticks of lemon, almond, vanilla, sandalwood and incense (churches and old libraries, said Shelagh) We were in the presence of a master as she blended the scents expertly, and we came away happy with the scent of The Madonna of the Almonds in our noses! The perfume will be a limited edition, available in association with the book in May. Thanks to everyone at Floris, and Teresa (my uber-agent) for going along to sniff with me and lend her perfume/marketing expertise!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Madonna of the Almonds Bookseller Cover

OK so am officially getting childishly excited about the release of next book Madonna of the Almonds (on the 14th May) because it's there in glorious technicolour on the front of this week's Bookseller, the booktrade's premier magazine! As well as the gorgeous cover (which will be on my site soon) there was lots of info inside about what Beautiful books are doing marketing-wise...a bespoke perfume designed by Floris, support from Amaretto, (great because the liquor is the subject of the book) a competition run by Alitalia, and a swish launch at the Italian Embassy!! Am already getting nervous about my speech....! x