Showing Tag: "to" (Show all posts)

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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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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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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How can a novel change your life?

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, October 29, 2015,
President Barack Obama says novels taught him many things about the world - including empathy and how to be a citizen. There is no question that novels can take us out of our world and plunge us into others, giving us access to experiences we might never acquire.
Growing up, my grandmother bought me the classics and I loved Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn - I was a little Scottish girl with no connection to the American South, but I learned a lot about racism in those books. Growing older, it...
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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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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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Who are the most important people in publishing?

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, July 6, 2015,
Most students of publishing would answer say, 'the publisher.'
Ask an author, especially one desperately seeking publication, and they would say, 'the editor.'
Ask the editor, enlightened ones would suggest, 'the author,'; others might point to the sales team and cite 'the marketing director' who pushes sales so that books make a profit.
Everyone of these roles is important - a good author creates a successful story; a good editor is needed to represent the reader and catch sticky plot details, ...
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What I learned from my MA in creative writing

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, June 15, 2015,
From Victoria Owens, author of Drawn to Perfection
Discipline:
Like any other art, writing requires regular practise. The course framework, with its submission deadlines and workshop expectations, ensured that I wrote whether or not I was ‘in the mood.’ Over the MA year, I got used to putting words on the page when I was sick, miserable, hung-over or guilty about neglecting my family. Much of what I produced under these conditions was rubbish, but at least it was something to work on, and t...
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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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The audience are not stuffed cabbages

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, April 27, 2015,


Great fun at the Chipping Norton Literary Festival this weekend - everyone from Baroness Trumpington - who took the conversation where she wanted it to go - to Sheila Hancock, who remains a strong, political and a terrifically entertaining speaker.

We sponsored two events: Jesse Armstrong, a script writer from The Peep Show, The Thick of It and The Four Lions, talked about his new novel; and Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan talked about their book group, their novels and their lives. 

However,...


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All the fun of the book fair

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, March 31, 2015,
I once took four authors across the country to a literary festival. We drove from different directions, all geared up to talk about novel writing, editing, where the ideas came from, what was next - to say we were pumped was no exaggeration. So you can imagine how we all felt to see seven people in the audience. 'It's a Wednesday,' said one of the organisers, as though that would make it alright. Needless to say, we gave it our best until one of the audience walked out because I wouldn't acce...
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Urgently seeking book groups who read specific genre

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, September 22, 2014,
I love Hookline. I love watching feedback from the book groups who read our manuscripts and I get excited watching the vote tallies that finally reveal a winner. However, I have long felt some sadness for writers who submit work that comes from less popular genre - sci-fi, fantasy and the dark arts tend not to find favour among book group readers.
But I know there are book groups who read these sectors of fiction - and specialise in only reading others such as crime, historical fiction, etc.
As...
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When is 'The End' not 'The End'?

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Friday, February 21, 2014,
Just because you type 'The End' doesn't mean the work is finished.
Find out what else might need to be done by visiting my guest blog at The Chipping Norton Literary Festival page:

http://www.chiplitfest.com/blog/meet-one-of-our-sponsors-hookline-books/



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Booksellers - we want to work with you

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, September 24, 2013,
I often receive calls from customers saying their local bookseller can't or won't order our books. I am always happy to supply direct however I dislike having to explain to a potential customer why they should experience any difficulty with a bookseller. Our books are printed by one of the largest printers in the country. We pay a huge percentage to a distributor to carry our books from printer to book shop. Why should a customer encounter any difficulty?
It all gets down to accounting.
There a...
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How to find or start a book group

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, January 8, 2013,

There may already be a book group in your area. Ask at your local library or check with The Reading Agency, a charity that aims to promote reading:  http://www.readinggroups.org/find/location/

Or try: http://wwwbookgroupinfo.co.uk

If a group doesn't exist in your area, or the existing group is full, you may have to start a reading group from scratch.

First, ask among your friends, co-workers and neighbours. You are likely to be surprised at how many people like to discuss books.

If you ar...


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Hookline Winner 2013

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, November 5, 2012,
Congratulations go to Victoria Owens, of Bath Spa University, with her novel Caelica's Bridge. Set in 18th century Wales, the novel follows a young woman who finds the courage to stand up to her father and her fractured community.
Hookline book groups said:
"The characters were strongly developed as the novel progressed."
"It had a good sense of period."
"This was definitely our favourite."
I look forward to working with Victoria, and we aim to have her novel published by April.
Congratulations to ...
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Vampires not allowed - at least in prison book groups

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Wednesday, September 19, 2012,
It will come as no surprise to read that Fifty Shades is massively popular in women's prisons. The surprise may be that it is also popular among the men's prison population. "Their wives tell them to read it," said one reading group volunteer at the Prison Reading Groups conference at Roehampton University last week.
No matter whether it is requested, not all libraries will keep it in stock. Books with sexual content are sometimes banned. This is easy to understand in prisons holding sex offen...
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Tea, biscuits and books - in prison!

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, September 18, 2012,
Tea and biscuits have a deep association with book groups, but this connection is significant for book groups that meet in prisons.
Almost every volunteer and librarian who spoke at the Prison Reading Group conference at Roehampton University last week, talked of tea and biscuits and how integral they are to meetings. It was just one of the details that fascinated me, that put prison reading groups on a par with any other reading group in any community.
The conference was held, primarily, to sh...
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Book Covers Are As Subjective As The Pages They Bind

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Friday, August 17, 2012,
When it comes to book covers everyone has an opinion. Some look at the design, professionals look at the techniques involved, readers look for clues to the story.
Personally, the simpler the better has huge appeal. I dislike peering through swashes of colour for a subtle hint of appeal. 
Which is why the cover of Hookline's A Young Woman's Guide to Carrying On is one of my favourites. And, at book fairs, I have seen women pick it out from among all the other books on our shelves. It's simplicit...
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E-books - the evolution continues

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, July 10, 2012,
Another month and more updates on the evolution of E-books.
Faber Factory have organised a conference to brief members on new aspects of E-publishing.
Many of us are keen to know how the Waterstones-Kindle alliance will play out. Will Waterstones continue to sell ePub books alongside Kindle books? (For the uninitiated, Kindle uses a different e-book formatting programme from the rest of the industry - hence Kindle can only read Kindle books). If Kindle books are sold onto Kindle devices in shop...
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Novels - who are they written for?

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Wednesday, June 20, 2012,
So many unpublished writers are out there diligently working away at plot, character development and writing style. Brown envelopes are mailed to publishing houses and pushed into the reluctant hands of editors, who may only be on a shopping trip to Sainsburys (yes, it happens!) There is a desperation out there. So many writers want their work to be relished by readers.
It's a tough world - lot's of people telling stories while the majority of readers are engaged by a narrow field of best sell...
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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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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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Book groups, air your views

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, March 22, 2012,
Book groups rarely get a mention at literary festivals. Instead it is the great and good among authors who are feted and discussed.
But a small forum at next month's Chipping Norton Literary Festival aims to change that. Book Groups - Not All Tea and Biscuits will discuss why book groups are popular and will ask book group members to talk about how they find the books they read, how serious does it have to be and even, critically, how do you deal with a difficult or dominating member?
The event...
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Reading Groups - Not Just Tea and Biscuits

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, March 12, 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 titles owe their success to word-of-mouth recommendation through book groups. For instance:
Number One Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Captain Corelli's Mandolin
by Louis de Bernières
Devine Sisters of the YaYa Sisterhood
by Rebecca Wells
The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini.

These novels were original...


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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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The People's Book Prize

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, February 27, 2012,

This is the final TWO DAYS of voting for 1st stage of The People’s Book Prize.

One of our novels, Seven Days to Tell You by Ruby Soames, has been nominated.

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 to air its wares...


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First Lines - Yours!

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, February 20, 2012,
We've received a few favourite first lines from readers:

'It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.' from George Orwell's 1984.
I haven't read this novel but the first line definitely wakes up the reader.

Another old classic came forth:

'Happy Families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way' from Anna Karenina by Tolstoy. A thought that cannot be denied.

But we also had first lines submitted from contemporary fiction:

'I'm unsure why one trifli...
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The best first lines are the simple ones

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Wednesday, February 15, 2012,
For the next few days I will be airing my favourite first lines - and looking at why I think they work.
Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan sets the topic of the novel with his introductory sentence: They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible.
This novel is immersed in sex and intimacy, and this first sentence immediately introduces the reader to the characters and their challenge...
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Hookline Books needs you

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, February 9, 2012,

This is the final two weeks of voting for The People’s Book Prize.

One of our novels, Seven Days to Tell You by Ruby Soames, has been nominated.

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 is the money for a publicity machine.

As a result, we rely on readers to promote our good name.

To refresh your memory Seven Days ...


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Is a week long enough to learn the truth?

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, February 7, 2012,

Kate and Marc have a perfect marriage – until one morning Marc goes out, and doesn’t come home. Where has he been? Is a week long enough to learn the truth?

Seven Days to Tell You by Ruby Soames has been nominated for The People's Book Prize - however it needs votes. Yours! Please follow this link to read an excerpt -
http://www.peoplesbookprize.com/section.php?id=6 
ease follow this link where you can read an excerpt -  http://www.peoplesbookprize.com/section.php?id=6 
































 ...
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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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