I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh ~ BLOG TOUR!

Today on Becca's Books, I'm absolutely delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for a truly EPIC read. I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh absolutely blew my mind. It was a one-of-a-kind psychological thriller that had my nails digging into the leather case of my Kindle right from start to finish, and it's not very often that I come across a book that is capable of doing such a thing! 

So, while the blog tour is with me (for cupcakes and tea, obviously), I'll be sharing a guest post from Clare, an extract from I Let You Go, AND I'll be including the link to my review, in case you fancy seeing what I thought!


Why does it take so long?
By Clare Mackintosh

'When's your book out?' is a question I have been asked numerous times in the last two years, swiftly followed by, 'but why does it take so long?' I signed a two book deal in spring 2013, with a projected epublication date for book one of November 2014, and the paperback to follow in spring 2015 - two years after the deal was brokered. Yet the book was finished, so what could possibly take so long? 

Well, firstly the book wasn't really finished. I had a completed manuscript, and it was as good as I could get it on my own, but I had months of work ahead of me. Under the guidance of my brilliant editor I reworked, rewrote and redesigned book one until it was stronger in every way. By spring 2014 it was pretty much there, but then we needed a round of copy-edits, followed by proofs to check, and a final proof-read to make sure every possible typo was caught.

At the same time, discussions were under way to determine the title of the book, which had been known up to that point by a working title than no longer fitted the story - or even the genre. I Let You Go was put forward to the sales and marketing team, and everyone agreed it was perfect. As we neared completion my editor briefed the cover designer on the style of cover we wanted, and on the key themes of the book. Initial concepts were kept closely under wraps, as my editor only wanted to show me the cover once she felt it was right. I became convinced I would hate it - that it would look like every other crime novel on the shelf - and I braced myself for something grey and gritty. I couldn't have been more wrong, and I love my cover now as much as I did that first day I saw it. 

With the book complete well before the summer, why wait till November for the ebook? And then a further six months until the paperback - the version most likely to attract sales - hit the shops? Well, firstly there's the issue of space. Apparently, despite my editor doing an amazing job of making me feel as though I Let You Go is the only book coming out this year, there are more than a few others. Publishers have to find space in the calendar for new releases, taking into account genre, seasonal influences and what other titles are due out. As for the time delay between ebook and paperback, six months is the required period between the first iteration of the book (in my case a trade paperback - the large format soft cover novels often found at airports) and the paperback.

There are other excellent reasons not to rush the launch of a book, even when the writing of it has long since been completed. In August 2014 we sent out proofs of I Let You Go to around twenty authors, most of whom were kind enough to provide us with quotes to help publicise the book. Such forward planning meant that when the trade paperback went to print in October it carried an endorsement on the cover from bestselling crime author Peter James. With a comfortable six months to go until the mass-market launch, still more quotes could be added to the paperback cover, including any quotes gathered from press on the way. 

I'm an impatient person who likes fast results, and waiting 18 months to see my book in print has been almost as torturous as trying to explain to my mother why signing a publishing contract didn't immediately mean she could buy my book. The last couple of years have taught me so much about the publishing world, and shown me that sometimes it's better to take things slowly. Now that I Let You Go is out, I have already been asked when book two will hit the shelves. They will, of course, have to wait.  

***


Extract from I Let You Go

When I wake, for a second I'm not sure what this feeling is. Everything is the same, and yet everything has changed. Then, before I have even opened my eyes, there is a rush of noise in my head, like an underground train. And there it is: playing out in Technicolor scenes I can’t pause or mute. I press the heels of my palms into my temples as though I can make the images subside through brute force alone, but still they come, thick and fast, as if without them I might forget. On my bedside cabinet is the brass alarm clock Eve gave me when I went to university – ‘Because you’ll never get to lectures, otherwise’ – and I’m shocked to see it’s ten-thirty already. The pain in my hand has been overshadowed by a headache that blinds me if I move my head too fast, and as I peel myself from the bed every muscle aches. I pull on yesterday’s clothes and go into the garden without stopping to make a coffee, even though my mouth is so dry it’s an effort to swallow. I can’t find my shoes, and the frost stings my feet as I make my way across the grass. The garden isn’t large, but winter is on its way, and by the time I reach the other side I can’t feel my toes. The garden studio has been my sanctuary for the last five years. Little more than a shed to the casual observer, it is where I come to think, to work, and to escape. The wooden floor is stained from the lumps of clay that drop from my wheel, firmly placed in the centre of the room, where I can move around it and stand back to view my work with a critical eye. Three sides of the shed are lined with shelves on which I place my sculptures, in an ordered chaos only I could understand. Works in progress, here; fired but not painted, here; waiting to go to customers, here. Hundreds of separate pieces, yet if I shut my eyes, I can still feel the shape of each one beneath my fingers, the wetness of the clay on my palms. I take the key from its hiding place under the window ledge and open the door. It’s worse than I thought. The floor lies unseen beneath a carpet of broken clay; rounded halves of pots ending abruptly in angry jagged peaks. The wooden shelves are all empty, my desk swept clear of work, and the tiny figurines on the window ledge are unrecognisable, crushed into shards that glisten in the sunlight. By the door lies a small statuette of a woman. I made her last year, as part of a series of figures I produced for a shop in Clifton. I had wanted to produce something real, something as far from perfection as it was possible to get, and yet for it still to be beautiful. I made ten women, each with their own distinctive curves, their own bumps and scars and imperfections. I based them on my mother; my sister; girls I taught at pottery class; women I saw walking in the park. This one is me. Loosely, and not so anyone would recognise, but nevertheless me. Chest a little too flat; hips a little too narrow; feet a little too big. A tangle of hair twisted into a knot at the base of the neck. I bend down and pick her up. I had thought her intact, but as I touch her the clay moves beneath my hands, and I’m left with two broken pieces. I look at them, then I hurl them with all my strength towards the wall, where they shatter into tiny pieces that shower down on to my desk. I take a deep breath and let it slowly out.

***

I remember reading I Let You Go like it happened only yesterday! If you missed my review, then you can find it here!

I'd like to say a massive thank you to the wonderful Kirsteen for inviting me along to be a part of Clare's blog tour! It's been a pleasure hosting such a brilliant author and book here on Becca's Books!










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