Showing Tag: "the" (Show all posts)

Alcoholism in fiction

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Wednesday, April 12, 2017,
So many alcoholics are associated with fiction - or they used to be - Dylan Thomas, Tennessee Williams, Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker (she is credited with the line: "I like to have a Martini. Two at the very most. After three I'm under the table. After four I'm under the host.") These classic writers had booze problems and passed their addiction on to their characters.
Today alcoholism has almost disappeared from fiction. Paula Hawkins brought it back with A Girl on the Train (which I have...
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Writers, 8 questions for your characters

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, November 8, 2016,
Readers love characters - they are our connection with the plot, what makes us reopen the pages, what makes us care.
I sometimes hear writers say, "Well, she's a middle-aged woman with an empty nest and feeling lonely." Okay, that tells us her current circumstance but it does not tell us who she is. And who she is depends upon her past and how she now looks at her past. Has she changed? How has she changed? Have those around her changed? (Think Shirley Valentine). And before you decide to ins...
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Child migrants - a little more history

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Wednesday, October 5, 2016,
I've been a little bit obsessed by child migration recently. This is due to the fact that I've been editing Listen to the Child, a novel which tells of British children shipped out to Canada in the 1870s and distributed as indentured labour to farmers there, and reading The Lightless Sky by Gulwali Passarlay, a contemporary autobiography of a young Afghan boy sent to Europe with people smugglers.
Both books shine light on children far from home with no parent to care for them.
Gulwali is sent...
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Child migrants - then and now!

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, October 3, 2016,
Child migrants are the topic of our next novel. Listen to the Child by Elizabeth Howard tells the story of children shipped from London's overcrowded streets to the wide open farms of Canada in the 1870s. This was before Dr. Barnardo and others took up the practice. The missionaries believed they were doing the right thing, that God had shown them this green and promised land and that by taking children from thieving, prostitution and gambling they were rescuing them from the sins of the worl...
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Your Desert Island books

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Friday, April 8, 2016,
While I put my interests almost firmly in the non-fiction camp when choosing books to take to a desert island, it seems, dear readers, that you prefer the classics.
The Hobbit, Heart of Darkness, Wuthering Heights and D.H. Lawrence's Women in Love came top in the books you chose. The Hobbit seemed popular because many of you read it in impressionable youth. The others, all for romantic reasons. One reader said Women in Love reminded her of university days with their earnest discussions of soci...
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New writers can learn from The Martian

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, March 7, 2016,
Let me begin by saying I don't enjoy science fiction. I have never yearned to read more sci-fi than I have ever tasted.
I read The Martian because I had to - it was a reluctant purchase for book group and I feared never getting beyond 20 pages. I hadn't seen the film and didn't care to, no matter that it was tagged as 'comedy'.
However, I have to say The Martian is brilliantly constructed and many new writers could take lessons from its author Andy Weir.
Throughout the read, I desperately needed...
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In the beginning, make us care

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, January 25, 2016,
A huge amount is written about first line - and rightly so! However the first bite to a novel is the first chapter. Draw us in with an acute scene of real drama and we'll be with you for the rest of the novel. Sharp writing and crisp characterisation will make us hang on till the very end.
However, great opening chapters are rare - it's tough to lead the reader into 80,000 words, opening the door to unknown characters, setting and conflict, creating a single scene that wraps together enough na...
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Independent reviews of an unusual debut crime novel

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, November 19, 2015,
"Crime doesn't pay," goes the maxim. However, an unusual debut crime novel from CM Thompson has proven a success with independent Netgalley reviewers who, it seems, love What Lies in the Dark.
And we're immensely proud and keen to share - especially as Amazon have discounted the ebook to 99p.
Here are just some of the reviews:

“This is a debut novel that deserves to be read.”

“CM Thompson has perfectly captured human nature - our pettiness and rivalries; our emotions of apathy and anger, ...

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The Secret Mother is a Netgalley success

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, November 2, 2015,
Our time at Netgalley is at an end, and we are no longer offering reviewers and readers free access to our novels.
It's been an interesting experiment, and one that has been affirming - readers who don't know us seemed to have enjoyed the Hookline novels. Last week I detailed the feedback on our crime novel, What Lies in the Dark.
Today, we'll look at the response to The Secret Mother by Victoria Delderfield.
Out of 11 reviews, five gave the novel 5 stars, with seven offering 3 or 4 stars and on...
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Throwing open the pages for reviews

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Friday, October 30, 2015,
It's scary for an author (and a publisher) when a novel is thrown open for review. What if everyone hates it? What if we are the only people who see merit in the work?
Well, we did something scary earlier this year, something we've never done before, and threw all of this year's publications open to review by all Netgalley subscribers. Netgalley, is a book discovery site for booksellers, reviewers, bloggers, librarians and those who love books - even if all they do is read.
Well, the first titl...
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Extract of The China Bird by Bryony Doran

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, September 22, 2015,
Edward watches the crows circling the fine black lines of leafless trees etched against the pewter sky. He hears the first thud of earth on wood and stares down at the coffin. The brass nameplate is already tarnished by the wet soil. He shivers, wishing he hadn’t come. On the journey over he’d asked his mother how they were related to the dead woman. The train was pulling away from Huddersfield station. He’d waited for an answer, watching the station clock grow smaller and smaller.
‘S...
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An extract from The Secret Mother by Victoria Delderfield

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, September 21, 2015,

Blood

 

He hangs it by the ankles, its blue hands splayed, the small kidney-shape of its body crowned with my blood. I open my arms, but the yīshēng shakes his head.

“Look away, you hear? Look away.” He plunges my baby head first into a waiting bucket of water.

Pain roars in my haunches. I push hard, my womb emptying like a blanket thrown into the air. Between my legs…so much blood.

“Stop pushing, another one’s coming,” he bawls and discards the limp newborn beside the buck...


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Mothers, Lovers and second novels

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, September 7, 2015,
We've written before about the pressure writers feel about that second novel. 
Seven Days to Tell You by Ruby Soames was one of Hookline's most successful novels - frequently in the top 100 Kindle sales, runner up in the People's Book Prize. Ruby's second novel is more humorous, less intense, but retains that personal touch. For this week only it is selling at 99p on Amazon.
Want to know more?

Ever wonder what it's like to date an actor who hits the big time? Intrigue, jealousy, resentment – a...


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Read now! The Red Shoes

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, August 27, 2015,
A second novel is a tough assignment - ask any author and they'll tell you that a successful debut is a stressful act to follow.
Bryony Doran's The China Bird was Hookline's first ever novel - and, considering our naiveté in the industry, it achieved terrific acclaim:
Author Livi Michael called it, "A delicate and unusual novel that explores the precariousness of relationships."
Blogger Rob Around Books said, "A literary classic which should be, and must be, eagerly consumed by readers of all...
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Four novels in one year - who would have thought it?

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, August 18, 2015,
It was all a step in the dark. For six years we trundled along running the Hookline Novel Competition with terrific participation from book groups, but all the time knowing we had to change.
And change we did! 
The Facebook page - Hookline's Discover New Author's Page was set up in February and already we have signed up two authors. 
Terms by Ben Lyle will be out on 1 September:

Twelve-year-old James hates life at his hippy boarding school where lessons are optional, homework forbidden and school...


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It's not you, it's me

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Friday, August 14, 2015,
Ok, after the last post, I've been asked about the books I gave up on.
I don't want to make this personal, but it is - purely my opinion on why I didn't continue to the last page, so here goes: 

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
I've loved his previous novels, couldn't put them down, but this novel left me cold. Maybe it was the adolescent narrative in the beginning (runaway refuses to go home no matter the dangers). I gave up during the first entry to the dark side and only resumed reading beca...
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Third Time Lucky - Helen MacKinven, guest blog

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Wednesday, July 8, 2015,

In October, my debut novel will be published. Some folk have assumed it’s the first book I’ve written when in fact it’s my third.

My first novel, Sunbirds, was inspired by a Caribbean cruise I went on with friends from work in 2004. I’m sure I’d cringe reading it now as it was a ‘practice’ novel.  I knew I needed professional guidance so in 2009 I went on an Arvon residential course called ‘Starting to Write a Novel’.

The experience kick-started my second novel, Buy, Buy Baby...


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A better prize than money

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, July 2, 2015,
It sounded like a good idea at the time. A promotion offering the chance to win your name in a future novel if you signed up to our newsletter. Well, it worked - the name Chris Rose will appear in a Hookline novel, probably in 2016. Both Terms and The Secret Mother are too far along in the editorial process to have name changes, but...watch this space!
Of course, we are aware that this is not exactly fair to our current newsletter subscribers, so another competition is lined up so that current...
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The Joy of Listening

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, May 5, 2015,
As much as I love to read, I also love to listen to a good story. In the car, I choose to drive during Radio 4's Book of the Week or Book at Bedtime. But this isn't always convenient - hence, the joy of iPlayer and listening when to the story when it is convenient.
But sitting listening to a story isn't an easy thing to do - what do you do with your hands? (I don't iron!) This is where hand crafts come in and, for me, that means knitting my very own Andy Murray. He's small, doesn't require muc...
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Beyond the book

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, April 2, 2015,
Sometimes a book comes into your life that you know will be special. 
It happened in a book shop overseas. We were browsing through English language holiday reads, when my son brought me what looked like a library book - old, hard-backed, a biblio sticker on the spine, it even had library stamp dates on the fly leaf. 'Look,' he said, and pointed to the title: The Ship of Theseus. We grinned at each other - Theseus had been popular in his bed time stories.
Between the pages were newspaper cuttin...
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Every day should be World Reading Day

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, March 9, 2015,
I have a confession - I don't like World Book Day! It feels contrived and a little self-important. We who love books know who we are, we don't need to shout it out to the world. I appreciate that it gives books sunlight, drags them out from beneath all those cinema reviews and You Tube shares, but does anyone not switched on by books ever have a Eureka moment on World Book Day and realise what they have missed? Most of Friday's media attention focused on the plight of parents desperate to put...
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Is it normal for writers to pay toward print costs? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, November 26, 2012,
Do all publishers charge writers to publish their work?
According to some, it is a legitimate part of doing business in today's world, and I've just had a rather heated debate with a publisher who feels that not charging is impossible. 
Hmmm! I have been known for my Polly Anna tendencies, but a work should be accepted because a publisher feels that their investment in editing, typesetting, design, printing and royalty costs will be returned by enough readers purchasing the title. We all make m...

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How do we find the quiet books?

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, November 19, 2012,
'To own a certain book, and to choose it without help, is to define yourself.'
Julian Barnes


When browsing through a bookshop or library, we are often reluctant to stake our time and money on an unknown author. It feels safer to opt for the novel that has had attention in the media - either through reviews, author interviews or a billboard picture or two. But, as we all know, not all highly hyped novels turn out to be wonderful reads, and not all unhyped novels are worthless.
So how do we discov...
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First lines

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, August 14, 2012,
I love first lines - or hate them if they are really bad. When browsing a book shop, the first line has to grab me. If it isn't awful, I am likely to proceed to the next and onward through the whole paragraph - and if that keeps me happy, then the book is mine.
At the moment I'm reading The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. The first line isn't superb: Schwartz didn't notice the kid during the game.
Not wonderful, but I do want to know why Schwartz notices the kid now. 
 This is a novel centered ...

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Hookline Novel Competition short list 2012

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, June 7, 2012,
Our reading groups have voted and we have our short list of authors for this year:

Ainscow and the Children of Fire by Paul Beatty of Manchester Metropolitan University

The Net by Andrea Case-Rogers of Manchester Metropolitan University

Charlotte by Andrew Chesney of Anglia Ruskin University

The Ivy Stone by AJ Morgan of University of Wales

Caelica’s Bridge by Victoria Owens of Bath Spa University  


An interesting point to note is that three of the five are men - so far Hookline has publi...
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Seven Days to Tell You - the readers' reviews

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, May 31, 2012,
Seven Days to Tell You came in the top three at the finals of The People's Book Awards - a huge privilege. Ruby and I had a fun evening - great to meet the other authors and publishers up for the award.
While Seven Days to Tell You didn't win, we did top the number of positive reviews on The People's Book Prize website.
If you have any doubt about the novel's merit, read below:

Excellent new writing; engaging characters and exciting plot. I devoured Seven Days to Tell You in one sitting... This ...


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Long Live the People

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, May 29, 2012,
The People's Book Prize award ceremony is Wednesday night. Our very own Seven Days to Tell You by Ruby Soames is a contender in the fiction section.
The prize was established to give readers a say in the industry - much like Hookline Books. Rather than have publishing giants choose the best sellers by putting large budgets behind well-known writers, the organisers wanted to give readers the chance to promote a good book - from the bottom up!
We congratulate all the writers who have made the fin...
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The People's Book Prize

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, May 21, 2012,

This is the final leg of voting in the finals of The People’s Book Prize.

We are delighted that Seven Days to Tell You by Ruby Soames is a finalist in the fiction category.

It is tough for a small publishing company like ours to rise – we may have great stories, terrific writers and a wonderful niche in allowing reading groups to choose what goes to print. But what we don’t have are the finances for a publicity campaign.

So this competition is an excellent opportunity for Hookline...


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Hookline Books - the Maverick

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, April 2, 2012,
The London Book Fair approaches and there is much to do. However, immersed in it all, I can't help but look back at Hookline's first appearance at the London Book Fair four years ago. The China Bird by Bryony Doran was our first winner - we had no other publication - so our entire stand was stacked only with Bryony's book. 
We looked pretty foolish among the more seasoned publishers with their shelves of new titles and a healthy backlist. Many of them asked why we only had one title and, when ...

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The People's Book Prize - we're so happy to make the finals

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Friday, March 2, 2012,
Seven Days to Tell You by Ruby Soames has reached the final twelve in The People's Book Prize. We're thrilled, and it's all thanks to the readers who put their votes behind the title.
All our novels are published after their raw manuscripts are given a thumbs up by reading groups. Fiction is subjective - what receives praise from one reader, will be ridiculed by another. But if large numbers of book groups are thrilled by a work, then we are happy to put it to print and let other readers share...
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Book groups and the Chipping Norton Literary Festival

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, February 6, 2012,
Mention reading groups to most people, and they expect middle age, middle class and middle brow.
How wrong!
Reading groups are a growing force in publishing, and some big name authors owe their success to word-of-mouth recommendation through book groups. For instance:
Number One Ladies Detective Agency
Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Devine Sisters of the YaYa Sisterhood
The Kite Runner
These were all small-time debut novels until discovered by reading groups.

Following the success of these books, publish...
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Yvonne Barlow Editor at Hookline Books - where book clubs and readers choose the novels that go to print.

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