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Life, My Novel, Writing

The Deal – Paris Mon Amour, 13 June 2016

Panorama Buttes ChaumontAs a novelist it’s not surprising that I have a vivid imagination. I also have a handy ability to visualise success even when it is nowhere in sight. So along with the dress I designed years ago in my head for my fantasy book launch, I have often imagined penning this post to share news of my book deal. The announcement in The Bookseller gives something of the story of Paris Mon Amour, why I wrote it and many kind words from Iain Millar, MD of my publishers Canelo, and my agent Diana Beaumont about the novel, me and this blog! It was the moment I realised this was actually happening in real life.

I could not be more thrilled to tell those of you who haven’t heard that my debut novel will be released on 13 June of THIS YEAR by digital publisher Canelo who have acquired UK and Commonwealth (excluding Canada) English language rights. And I am also delighted to go public on the news that it will also be released worldwide as an audiobook with Audible. A doubly amazing start!

The response to my news on social media over the last couple of days has been extraordinary. I am deeply touched by the hundreds of tweets, texts, Facebook messages and emails flooding my way. I know how incredibly lucky I am to have made it to this point and I cannot say enough what a difference it has made to have the support of so many friends and followers and how grateful I am to you all. And as for the instant buzz and anticipation, to hear people say they can’t wait to read my book now they know more about it – that is unbelievably exciting!

A lot of you have asked about my publishers, Canelo, and the route I’m taking, so a bit about that. The moment I heard of their interest I was intrigued. When I found out who was involved and the thinking behind it, together with the astonishing discovery that 47% of adult fiction in the UK is purchased digitally, I knew this was the right move for me. Canelo was founded last year by three people with genuine passion, vision and experience of the book business (Publishing Director Michael Bhaskar has even written two books about it). They are committed to fair treatment of authors – hot topic of the moment – and to a collaborative approach which I am already enjoying.

Oh, and they are crazy about my book and get where I’m coming from. I’ve always believed the reader is free to make what they like of a novel – for me good fiction is about questions, not answers – but a shared understanding of the hinterland amongst those working on it is invaluable. Happily I have that kind of creative partnership with my agent Diana who has worked tirelessly to help me raise my game and get the result we both wanted.

I’m enjoying this moment to the full because I know how important that is. One of the loveliest things about the last couple of years, and this week’s reaction to my news, is the number of writers who have commented on my perseverance and said they felt inspired to keep going themselves. It’s no secret that it hasn’t been easy but I repeat: nothing about the hurdles or setbacks I have faced is remotely unusual except possibly the fact I’ve been willing to talk about them. And knowing that perseverance and resilience are needed at every stage of a writing career, I am going to keep talking about this, and together with a very inspiring collaborator I have plans for a related (non-book) project which I will share in due course.

I wrote this novel fired up, as a kind of fight back to prove to myself that I wasn’t beaten. It came of real conviction because it is about things I feel strongly about. And the recent bullshit about Susan Sarandon’s cleavage and Gillian Anderson’s face (two examples amongst many) makes me even more glad I did. As someone very close in age, I look at her and see a naturally beautiful woman who happens to be 47. Why is that so very hard to believe? Everything about this book has been pretty intense for me. I always knew it would be exposing, given the themes, but if I was embarrassed or uncomfortable writing about sex I wouldn’t have chosen to tell this story in the first place. And if anyone tells me they think it’s hot of course I get a kick out of that!

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But – the clue’s in the title – Paris Mon Amour is above all a story about (various kinds of) love. I liked that the decision to publish this very intimate female first person narrative was made by three men, not because I crave men’s approval, obviously, but because I don’t like boxes or pigeonholes and hope it will speak to humans across the board. (Plus two of the three main characters are men.) We’ve all experienced some combination of love, grief, desire, temptation, family dramas, nice trips to Paris…

For all that this is the story of Alexandra, Philippe and Jean-Luc, I didn’t anticipate just how much of myself I would have to draw on in the wider sense to make it work on an emotional level.  Some parts I only discovered in the process, due to coincidental overlaps with my own life or issues I was forced to confront precisely because of what I was writing. The result was the current, very-nearly-final draft which I embarked on after a disappointing near-miss and only finished after I’d got this deal. That ‘digging deeper’ was painful, exhilarating and ultimately very liberating.

Seven years ago, also in the depths of winter, I walked out of my first beginner’s creative writing class at City Lit with the strongest feeling my life was about to change and now it’s happening again. Writing for me is about expression but most of all about connection. Thanks for being there on the other side.

MAIN PHOTO: Taken on a glacial January day six years ago, this is one of my favourite views of Paris from the belvedere in the Parc Buttes-Chaumont (SMALL PHOTO) in the north-eastern 19th arrondissement, significant locations in Paris Mon Amour.

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About Isabel Costello

Novelist and short story writer based in London. Debut novel PARIS MON AMOUR now out in digital and audio, paperback on 22 May 2017. Host of the Literary Sofa blog.

Discussion

20 thoughts on “The Deal – Paris Mon Amour, 13 June 2016

  1. Very pleased for you, Isabel. And brave that you’ve shared the ups and downs so publicly along the way. May it soar. Go you!

    Posted by Whisks | February 13, 2016, 15:11
  2. One of my favourite spots in Paris as well. Well done for keeping on and not getting discouraged. Absolutely delighted for you! And can’t wait to read.

    Posted by MarinaSofia | February 13, 2016, 15:19
  3. Congratulations (again) Isabel – and I hope you have enough time in the run-up to publication to get that dress made!

    Posted by Annecdotist | February 13, 2016, 15:45
  4. So pleased for you, Isabel. I love your blog and your courage in sharing the lows as well as the highs – you make me (and I’m sure many others) feel that it is worth carrying on. Very glad you’ve got your reward at last, and look forward to reading it!

    Posted by Catherine De'Freitas (@cathy_defreitas) | February 13, 2016, 16:10
  5. Apart from being OVERJOYED at your deal news, I’m also more than a little glad to hear that someone else indulges in these sorts of fantasies. So far I’ve restricted mine to imagining agents clamouring at my door (or, to be more accurate, my inbox). I think you’ve done a really great thing, sharing your ‘journey’ with the world. Too many people give up before they should, not knowing that rejection by one does not mean inevitable rejection by all. Having read an earlier version of the book, I am itching to see the finished product. Delving deep is always the way to go, but not always easy to do. My only concern now is how to get a signed copy – can you sign my Kindle?

    Posted by Rachael Dunlop (@RachaelDunlop) | February 13, 2016, 16:44
    • Thanks for being a wonderful friend and beta reader, Rachael! I am so looking forward to your final verdict (and everyone’s). As for your Kindle, I can sign it if you want but if you’re prepared to be patient… you never know! All best with your agent quest x

      Posted by Isabel Costello | February 13, 2016, 20:10
  6. I’m so chuffed for you Isabel and knew it was only a matter of time before you secured a book deal. We’ve both experienced highs and lows but got there in the end. Really looking forward to following your adventures as Paris Mon Amour becomes a reality .x

    Posted by helenmackinven | February 13, 2016, 17:41
  7. My heartfelt congratulations to you, Isabel! I am so looking forward to the release of your book! Yippee!!!!

    I was so disheartened when my agent didn’t sell my book, and took it off the market (after 5 weeks and 16 publishers’ rejections) in the spring of 2013. Without her continuing support (and some demoralizing blows from another agent at a workshop), writing another book has been slow and difficult, until recently, when an a editor gave me much-needed enthusiastic support … And this post from you!!!

    Which shows me it CAN be done!! : )

    So happy for you, and now more motivated for me!!!!

    Kind regards from across the pond : )

    Posted by Terri Weiss | February 13, 2016, 18:03
    • Hi Terri, so nice of you to get back in touch! I recall our chats back when (didn’t we both take against 25 February?!) Thanks for your kind words and I really hope it all comes right for you very soon. My novel will be available first as an audiobook in the States (and most places, I believe!) but I’m really hoping that’s just the start esp as the narrator/protagonist is half American, from northern California!

      Posted by Isabel Costello | February 13, 2016, 20:17
  8. (Oops spring of 2014 – it feels SO long ago. Time drags when you’re not having fun….)

    Let us all know your publication date – I’m pretty sure you will ; )

    Posted by Terri Weiss | February 13, 2016, 18:07
  9. Congratulations. Such great news.

    Posted by rowena | February 14, 2016, 06:32
  10. Many congratulations!. Sure this will provide a lot of encouragement to others.

    Posted by Peter Domican | February 15, 2016, 17:26
  11. Many congratulations. I’m sure it will be really encouraging for lots of people who know you (or your online presence). It’s nice from my perspective to see that all the events like Festival of Writing and the writing group experiences have paid off in the end.

    I was so pleased for you I wrote a blog post of my own about it. Hope you don’t mind: http://www.macnovel.org.uk/?p=2764

    Posted by Mike Clarke | February 17, 2016, 22:14
    • Thanks, Mike, not just for the comment but for your support along the way. Had my head down finalising the manuscript but that’s all done so now I can really start to look forward to publication. All the effort, tears and rants paid off in the end!

      Posted by Isabel Costello | March 1, 2016, 09:07

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