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What is a Bound Proof Anyway?

Ever since Christmas and the arrival of the Lego version of Chancellor Palpatine’s Arrest, my 5 and 7 year olds have been convinced that all mail left at our house is potentially from Santa Claus. Laboring under this delusion, they race to the door whenever they hear the thump of a package and proceed to attack it with their small scissors. This is all very annoying, especially if you need to return an item and the box looks like it’s been disemboweled by wild animals.

So when the mailman happened to come by while they were at school, I was already in a good mood to have beaten them to it. There was only a single item — an innocuous-looking padded envelope from London. When I opened it, out slipped a book. Actually, it was MY book. A bound uncorrected proof from my UK publisher without the final cover, but with the form and heft of a real book. I was so excited that I jumped up and down in a most undignified manner, emitting loud squeaks. If anyone had been passing by, they would have heard something like this:

“AAAAaaaahhh! It’s a book! A book! Aaaaaaahhh!” etc.

How should I describe the magical transmutation of thoughts into paper and ink? Flipping through the pages, I glimpsed familiar passages, bits of dialogue that made me cringe, and other parts that I still felt pleased with. I was amazed at how surreal, yet oddly normal it was. It had become a story that you could physically pick up and pass to someone. And when the next person opened it, they too could follow the printed trail of letters into an imaginary world that had come out of my head. I think at this point I started shouting something like “Gutenberg was a genius!” and had to calm myself down by eating a large slice of cake.

book2A few observations: 

This is the UK version, which has a slightly modified text and will be published as Young Adult/Crossover. It’s also what UK book reviewers will be getting as an advance review copy (ARC). At nearly 400 pages or 111K words, it seems like a fairly manageable read; a minor miracle considering that the original manuscript was 170K words without a proper ending. I had little idea of what I was doing when I started writing, but the end result, thanks to rigorous pruning and the intervention of my wonderful agent and editors from William Morrow and Hot Key, is a book and not a gigantic door stop.

I can’t wait to see the US version which is aimed at an adult audience and will be a larger hardcover book. When I do get it, I shall have to make sure that I open it before my kids do!

Snack Suggestions:

  • Large slice of lemon pound cake
  • Lots of dark chocolate with raspberries. Events like this require plenty of sugar to fuel them (when my husband came home later, the two of us were bouncing around like demented hamsters).

Thank you so much to everyone who has read this blog or encouraged me on this journey. I’ll have the first chapter up soon so you can have a sneak peek!

What’s the most memorable package you’ve received in the mail?

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15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Leon #

    What’s the “atmospheric online content” (mentioned on the back cover)? Sounds v. cool!

    February 14, 2013
    • Ha ha! I’m not really sure… might be something internet-related before the book launch. I’ll probably work with my publisher on putting together stuff about colonial Malaya, the practice of spirit marriages etc.

      February 14, 2013
  2. Suelika #

    Woo hoo! So exciting, congratulations!

    Why is the UK version aimed at a different audience?

    [Eating Trader Joe’s 73% cacao dark Belgian chocolate covered almonds now]

    February 14, 2013
    • Thanks Suelika (and thumbs up on the chocolate!). The difference is because my UK publisher, Hot Key, does kids’ and YA books. I had the option to go with another adult UK publisher, but I was really impressed with Hot Key and liked their team. I’m told that there’s a lot more crossover in the UK, so hopefully we’ll see some exciting things!

      February 14, 2013
  3. Can’t wait to see the first chapter!

    February 14, 2013
  4. Ooh, I would have been jumping, too! Very exciting!! I can imagine that’s an incredible feeling… and calories eaten in celebration of major life events don’t count 🙂

    February 14, 2013
    • That’s right! I had to give my waistline a stern talking to — “No expanding, these are celebratory calories!”

      February 15, 2013
  5. Ahhhh, excitement!!!! Your book is one of my top-3 most anticipated reads for this year. 🙂

    February 15, 2013
    • Thanks Brandy — if it gives you a few hours of reading pleasure, I’ll be very happy 🙂

      February 15, 2013
  6. I can’t even imagine how wonderfully exciting that moment must have been! I hadn’t realised the UK and US versions were being marketed to different age groups – I’d be interested to know how that came about.

    So excited for you, and can’t wait to read it!

    February 15, 2013
    • I enjoyed reading your blog and am just waiting to see your bound proof soon! Yes, the US and UK versions are aimed at different audiences, because I have 2 different publishers. The book itself can probably cross over, because it spans genres (historical/mystery/magical realism) and the protagonist is 18. I had the option of another adult UK publisher, but I was really impressed with Hot Key, which does kids/YA.

      February 15, 2013
      • That’s so interesting, I had no idea that could happen with sales to publishers in different countries, but it makes sense now. Can’t wait for August so I can get my hands on it!

        Thanks for stopping by my blog, I’m glad you liked it. 😀

        February 15, 2013
  7. robersonem #

    so thrilling! I cannot wait to read it.

    February 15, 2013

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