With three kids, this time of year - for me and every other working mum - involves a long round of nativity plays, Christingles, Christmas jumper days … and so many school events that you’re tempted to dig out a sleeping bag and not bother coming home. But, on the writing front, this December feels like the calm before the storm, as my novel You Me Everything prepares for UK and worldwide publication in Spring 2018.
Despite this, 700 miles across the North Sea in Norway – the only country in the world where the book is already out - it’s a different story entirely. There, there is no such calm; my publisher Bastion Forlag is currently working hard to make You Me Everything, or Her Nå Alltid, THE novel to buy for Christmas. The book debuted there in September and, after a five-star review in VG, Norway’s influential national newspaper, it went straight into the top #5 and has maintained a firm spot in the bestseller lists ever since.
Now, as Christmas approaches, there is a two-week TV advertising campaign, it has been Book of the Month in Norway’s biggest retail chains, it is the subject of a prominent podcast by two female celebrities, is feature book on Scandinavia’s largest online book shop and is still receiving incredibly flattering reviews . . . and that’s just a flavour of what’s going on!
Even from this distance, it was clear that there is a buzz around You Me Everything unlike anything I wrote under my pseudonym Jane Costello. Despite this, it took a message that arrived this morning to really bring this home to me. It was from an old friend called Hege, who I met many years ago through my work as a journalist in Liverpool. She now lives in Oslo and contacted me on Facebook with a photo of a giant stack of copies of Her Nå Alltid, adding: ‘I just had to send you this. ALL the bookshops look like this at the moment – it’s brilliant!’
All of this has added to my excitement about the launch elsewhere in the world in April and May, for which each of my publishers are busily preparing behind the scenes. It’s been fascinating and thrilling to see the work in each country, particularly the different approaches they’ve taken with my covers. In the UK, Simon & Schuster opted for a stylish, striking and clever image whose true meaning only becomes fully clear once you’ve starting reading the book. In the United States, Pamela Dorman Books produced a stunning jacket that depicts the rolling countryside and vivid sunshine of the novel’s all-important French setting. In Germany, Rowohlt have gone for something different again, a look that is modern, warm and really conveys the emotion within the story.
They’re just a handful of the languages into which the book will be translated after my agents at Curtis Brown sold the foreign rights around the world. And with every day that draws closer to Spring 2018, we’re receiving further updates about promotions, outdoor advertising campaigns, early positive reviews, audio book production and social media campaigns. All of which suggests that 2018 could be a very busy year in all the best ways!