My greatest wish is to live in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere. As of right now, we live in an apartment near the centre of Amsterdam. Every now and then I need an escape, and this time we went to a holiday island – Terschelling.

The Netherlands is a small country with more people than necessary space, and that’s before the tourists descend. It’s also a flat country. Literally. It has no mountains (although a friend of mine once had a really large zit and it got officially registered as Holland’s tallest peak at 2.3 mm). Amsterdam is obviously the worst place for a lover of nature, space, and silence. The holiday islands are exactly what they say they are – 99% of their income comes from tourism. Luckily, we went a week after the school holidays ended, which made me the youngest person around with the exception of people who live and work on Terschelling. Nobody blasted loud music. I only had to pick up other people’s litter once. It was rather fabulous…

 

Saturday

It turns out that the change from living near the centre of Amsterdam to this place is brutal. I am not used to silence. Actual, near-complete silence, interrupted only by the sounds of rain and hail, birds’ mating call, and one rather insistent duck attempting to join us inside. We don’t let the duck in. My head is super-confused. I’ve been ready to go to sleep from about 7pm (when it was still completely light outside), because the only times when I experience actual silence are when I go to bed with earplugs in.

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For those who have read Storytellers already, this is Doctor Brynjólf’s bookshelf.
(Árbærsjafn Open Air Museum)

 

The always amazing Lydia Schoch:

My reading habits have evolved a lot over the years. In today’s post, I’m going to start with my earliest memories and share some stories about how my interests and habits have changed over time. […] How have your reading habits evolved over time? If anyone decides to borrow this topic and blog about it, I’ll edit this post to include a link to your response if you’re interested in that.

Challenge accepted!

 

Kid A

I taught myself to read at the age of four. I kept forcing my mum and grandparents to re-read the same children’s books to me over and over and over again, until they told me that by now I must have memorised them. Since they refused to re-re-re-read them for me, I took things in my own hands and discovered that 1) I had indeed memorised them, 2) I was able to figure out what letters meant, how they composed into words, then sentences. I didn’t know it was unusual for a four-year old to read, but I also didn’t know that some books were not suitable for kids.

I read everything we had at home. Once my grandparents and mum noticed, they bought more kids’ books, but not before I went through multiple crime stories, lots of sci-fi, various romance books, magazines such as A Woman and Life, catalogues – if it was written word, I read it. My biggest achievement was a MASSIVE tome Four Tank-Men and a Dog (I’m not sure whether that’s a correct translation, but the word does not appear in dictionaries), which I read for the first time around the age of six/seven. (A lot of it was Soviet propaganda, which of course I missed.) I also loved a series about a teenager who travelled around the world, discovering things, saving others, basically a teenage Indiana Jones. I had no idea racism even existed, so the disdainful descriptions of all races other than white completely passed me by. Winnetou was wonderfully homoerotic and my re-reads of that coincided with the period I discovered I was gay myself. The difference between my favourite books and all the others was that I read the favourites more than once. Generally if it had printed text in it, I read it.

I only became more discerning later…

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Storytellers was officially released on March 28, 2019. Today it’s exactly one month old. Once I’m on my tenth novel I probably won’t even notice this sort of thing, too busy signing contracts with Hollywood and buying mansions. But this is my first book-baby and every morning I wake up excited to see what’s going to happen.

Here’s what happened so far…

 

Writing

I’ve rewritten the entire book twenty-one times.

In September 2017 I believed the book to be finished and ready to go. I asked an editor to go through the text and correct my grammar and spelling – I am painfully aware that I’m not a native speaker. She returned the book just in time for my 40th birthday (poetic, right?), mentioning in passing that perhaps a few things could do with another look, not too much, just a lick of polish. The most shocking thing she said to me was that she felt that the female characters seemed slightly flat.

Those who know me are aware that I’m an avid feminist. Almost all of my favourite books feature amazing female characters so full of life that I feel like we are BFFs. I could have dismissed Megan’s remarks, and almost have, but two of them overlapped with my beta readers’ remarks. When one person doesn’t like a detail, it’s generally not a problem. Two, though – one of them a professional – should make you think. So I did a bit of rewriting here and there. Eighteen times. Seventeen months. The total: twenty-one times over twenty-six months. Lads and ladies, here’s my book-baby, a result of an extremely overdrawn pregnancy.

 

 

The #PubDay

Also known as the day when you can actually purchase the book.

GOOD GODS. First of all, I didn’t realise that Amazon paperbacks did not feature the preorder option, accidentally publishing an unfinished version on February 27, giving scammers a chance to “offer” the book that didn’t exist yet, meaning you could “buy” it from the scammer – but not from me. The hardcovers came with two dates: publication date and on-sale date, which technically is a preorder, but in practice the book showed up on Amazon on March 28th, declaring that it was released on March 7th. At least the e-book did come out on the day it was supposed to be released. There were, excitingly, some preorders. The super deluxe boxed sets sold out within less than three days since I announced them, way before I even put one paragraph online.

This was the simple bit.

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