Before I deal with today's main business, I have some sad(ish?) news to share. My publisher have just confirmed my very first novel, The Swan Kingdom, is now officially out of print in the UK. I wrote this book when I was twenty-one and it was published when I was twenty-four. At the time I didn't even realise how lucky I was for that to happen, or how lucky I was to recieve such an amazing critical and award response, but looking back with hindsight I'm astonished my quirky little fairytale retelling did so well. The book earned out its advance nearly immediately and stayed in print for almost ten years, which is no mean achievement for a debut novel from an unknown. So while this development is, of course, bittersweet, I'm still very proud.
You can currently buy the book as a paperback in the US or as an e-book in the UK, but I don't know how long that will be the case, so if you wanted a copy then now is probably the time to get your hands on one. I might buy a couple of secondhand copies for myself, since all my author copies have long been given away and I'd hate to be left with no trace at all of the novel that changed my life so much.
OK, now that's over with - onto the snippet! Though Goodreads, Twitter and the blog, you guys have let me know that the new WIP you're most interested in seeing more of right now is the Little Mermaid retelling. Which is cool, because that's the one I'm actually working on this week. This is the opening part and a bit different than anything I've written before. Let me know what you think in the comments or wherever, my lovelies! Snippet under the cut.
There is light in the above. Different to the day star that turns the above blue, different than the White Mother. It is red and gold, bright, dancing and alive like the anenomes that sway in the current – but bigger, much bigger. She has never seen anything like it before. She turns, allowing the storm’s wild wake to wash around and through her, flipping her over onto her back with a flurry of bubbles so that she can stare up at it, spellbound. It is beautiful.
And then – great ripples above her. Not as far above as the red light, but on the very surface. Black things falling through the light, great silver crashes as they hit the water. She dodges with a curl of her fin as a jagged, pitted curve of metal spins past her. Pieces of wood and iron. Pieces of a ship. She has seen shipwrecks before, and the aftermath of shipwrecks on the sand at the very bottom – but never from such a short distance. Never from directly beneath. The storm has brought her almost to the land.
She is too close. She knows what she is supposed to do.
But it is so beautiful, and so strange. She stays, just a moment longer.
And then something falls into the water that she has never seen before. Not wood or iron or even the glittering stream of falling chips of gold and jewels – but something that moves. Something almost like a person except...
Except it has no tail.
She can see the poor, strange feelers that the thing has on its bottom half thrash – almost like arms, almost like claws, but misshapen and wrong. It can’t swim. She feels her gills stiffen as she realises: it is a Creature of the Air.