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Mr Tumnal: a publication day book reading

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[tags | book reading, books, mr tumnal, publication, publishing, reading]

Mr Tumnal is my second book, but it is a standalone adventure to that of my debut novel published in May 2012. Fans of The End Of All Worlds though, might recognise a couple of characters from that story taking little cameo roles in this new story.

Of course I hope that if you’ve got as far as reading my blog, and following my social media channels then you will already have decided you just have to read the book. But if you haven’t, maybe I could tempt you by reading a bit from it.

I’ve chosen a scene that comes towards the end of Part Two, when things have reached a climax in the Louis/Lewis relationship with Kathryn. It’s tense and dramatic, although for the bit that actually made me break down in tears as I was writing it you have to wait until Part Four!

Originally published at shepline: the journal. You can comment here or there.

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Publication Day: a short introduction to Mr Tumnal

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[tags | books, mr tumnal, publishing, writing]

So, after the years of writing, the revising, the editing, and the anticipation, the day has finally come when my second novel, Mr Tumnal, is published. Go buy it, now, but before you do (or if you want to find out more about it), see me say in brief what it is all about.

Mr Tumnal is available as both a paperback and an eBook for Kindle.

Mr Tumnal

Shepherd, T E (Cover illustration by Silviu)
Publication date: May 2012
Ebook ISBN 978 0 9571756 6 2 (£2.99) Amazon UK | Amazon.com
Paperback ISBN 978 0 9571756 7 9 (£8.99) Amazon UK | Amazon.com

Don’t own a Kindle but still want to read this book? You can download a FREE Kindle App for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android.

Originally published at shepline: the journal. You can comment here or there.

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Mr Tumnal: music as an inspiration

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[tags | books, mr tumnal, publishing, writing]

Mr Tumnal has an eclectic taste in music. His music collection is entirely vinyl and (mostly) cassette, with some recent additions on CD, thus, Kathryn buys him an iPod which she has engraved for him:

For your music collection and mine, love Kathryn xxx

For whatever reason, the iPod is never given, but the engraving is perfect to go alongside the playlist of the book. I feel sad when people have a narrow view of what their taste in music is. The very best music collections should be eclectic and contain examples from every genre, even if it was because that one track reminded you of one happy, sad, or otherwise memorable event.

The actual playlist that I used to write Mr Tumnal comprised some 86 tracks and that’s not counting the 251 song wedding playlist, or the general ‘Writing and Inspiration’ playlist. From that I’ve whittled it down to the ones that fit best with Mr Tumnal’s story.

There’s a dedicated page which explains each song choice, but please, even though I’ve been careful in the writing of it, be cautious of spoilers. Some songs are directly relevant to particular characters or scenes in the stories, but others just reflect the inspiration for the story. Others are linked to how I was writing it, like the time, as I approached those immortal words, The End, when writing in the heat of summer under an umbrella for shade I was so caught up in the story I failed to realise that I was now in the middle of a thunderstorm! Hey, it happens!

Mr Tumnal is published on Thursday 27 November 2014 as for Kindle and Paperback and is available for pre-order now on Amazon UK and Amazon.com (also available on other local territories).

Originally published at shepline: the journal. You can comment here or there.

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Mr Tumnal’s Theme

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[tags | books, mr tumnal, publishing, writing]

From the very first page of Mr Tumnal, you know that music is very important to Lewis/Louis and to his lives. How important you will have to wait to fully discover. With such importance you might expect me to know from the very beginning what piece of music has been haunting his head his whole life. But there’s the thing, I never knew, not exactly. It could be played on a flute I knew that, but that didn’t mean it had to be flute music. What I did know is that it had to be infectious and haunting. I went through the whole book writing and editing with only that knowledge in my head and it worked.

That though, is not the weird thing that I have to tell you. On the very night that I finished revising what was to be the final draft before sending it off to the editor, I was literally just finishing off the last bit the book, and my wife Emma was in the kitchen doing the washing up (I cooked the dinner just so you know), and she thought she heard an oboe or a clarinet playing and came through to see what I was doing. I had no music on; just my laptop and my novel. Anyway she obsessed over this snatch of music for a bit and then grabbed a free keyboard app on her tablet and tried to play the tune that she heard that evening. I knew straight away, even though Emma had not at tha time read the book, that it was Mr Tumnal’s Theme that I was hearing.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/178633744″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

I recorded what Emma played and later attempted at a rough transcription of the main tune. It’s kind of vaguely Swan Lake-ish I think, but its not. What I do find it is haunting and spooky and awesomely unsettling.

1011626_10152293347380630_2117421980_nI am luckily enough to have many friends musical than I am, and Neil Brownless, my conductor at the wind band that I go to kindly offered to try and work the original theme up into something bigger. It’s still very much a work-in-progress, but his variation too, is as unsettling as you will find Miss Leroy to be in the book…

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/178639087″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

Mr Tumnal is published on Thursday 27 November 2014 as for Kindle and Paperback and is available for pre-order now on Amazon UK and Amazon.com (also available on other local territories).

Originally published at shepline: the journal. You can comment here or there.

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A delicious story set in a far-away world just above our heads

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[tags | books, reading, reviews]

21378592Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

I first found about this book when I saw a it in a window display from the bus and I added it to my To Read list straight away. However it was not until I visited the 26 Characters exhibition at The Story Museum in Oxford, and I was looking at the Where The Wild Things Are installation that I found out that Katherine Rundell was an Oxford writer, and I found out more about this book.

I am so glad I delved into this story straight away now. It’s a deliciously simple idea: that of an orphan found floating adrift in a cello case after the ship goes down, and Sophie’s lifelong quest to find her mother whom she believes in her heart is still alive.

It’s told through a refreshingly small cast of characters and its quotable at every turn for just about any eventuality. So often did I want to tweet a favourite line that I soon realised that if I did I would soon find myself plagurising the entire story!

The setting is beautiful too. It’s mostly set in Paris, but in a Paris that could just as easily be any other city with rooftops to clamber around on, for most of the story is set high above street level in a second, hidden city, that most of us forget is even there. And who hasn’t found themselves looking up, past the gaudy shopfronts and distractions down on the ground and found the higgledy-piggledy rooftops the more interesting?

From the start, you are reminded to the very end, to always pursue you dreams and never ignor the ‘possible’. And that is a very good moral to remember and live by.

Originally published at shepline: the journal. You can comment here or there.

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The Seeds of a Story

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[tags | books, mr tumnal, publishing, writing]

Stories can come to the writer through deep consideration or through random chance. Mr Tumnal came to existence from the latter. As the acknowledgements in the front of the first edition, to be be published in just over two days time, states, it was my friend and former-work colleague Caroline who helped the story into existence through mishearing my poor diction on just another car share to the office…

DSCN1962_web
I remember panicking a few years later that Louis Tumnal’s name had already been taken when I heard of the existence of the children’s entertainer/television presenter Mr Tumble (who coincidentally used to be at school with my cousin – not that I knew this until recently or that it has any relevance to anything else…), but then breathing an audible sigh of relief when I realised the names are different. I like though, when I tell people about the story and that its set in an Oxford-like city, that people think he’s called Louis Tumnus. The loose palay on words with the classic C.S.Lewis character is one that I enjoy along with a whole host of other literary and pop-culture references that are laced throughout the pages.

I think that on those two car journeys, Caroline and I only pieced together the character of Lewis Tumnal, ie. what would later become the imaginary world of Louis Tumnal. What I subsequently did with that very detailed character sketch is entirely the product of my very weird brain.

As we approach publication day, I’m sure that nerves and abject terror will take over again in the next day or so, but right now I am full of excitement. The proof copies of my book arrived today and there is something truly magical about receiving the actual, physical books to handle, and turn over and feel the weight of all those years work in my hands.

Oh yes, right now, I’m full of excitement for it. I just hope that you all feel the same way…

Mr Tumnal is published on Thursday 27 November 2014 as for Kindle and Paperback and is available for pre-order now on Amazon UK and Amazon.com (also available on other local territories).

Originally published at shepline: the journal. You can comment here or there.

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A half-term break

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[tags | holidays, life, writing]

So, I’m back to work tomorrow after a nice, if tiring, seven days off. Tiring maybe, but its been a good mid-term break between Summer and Christmas. And productive too! Emma and I are now living in a transformed house, with the new-floor having been fitted by possibly the grumpiest of floor-fitters known to man. He’s done a good job though, and it feels so clean and spacious and ‘different’.

It’s been a busy old time though. Last week I did more decorating in the lead-up to The Floor. On Saturday I played in my band’s Rememberance Day concert which was brilliant. The sound of 6 tubas and 8 trombones reverberating across the stage was just amazing.

Sunday was less amazing, and spent cleaning out the animals (small job), and ripping up laminate flooring and old carpet ready for Monday.

Monday and Tuesday were mostly spent hiding in a coccoon of sanity upstairs in the bedroom on my bed (the only place left for me to go), reading, writing, internetting, and watching West Wing dvds to a percussion of banging from downstairs.

Today, with Emma being off too, was a much more leisurely sort of day pottering in the house putting it back to rights and going on an expedition to find a new rug to grace the new floor.

4259 / 80000 words. 5% done!

Originally published at shepline: the journal. You can comment here or there.

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A dark and gothic fairytale

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[tags | books, reading, reviews]

18298890Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge

This is a dark and gothic tale, with a brother lost in the war, and a family torn apart through grieving for him. There is sibling rivally and a father with a dark secret. There are moments thoughout this book that are genuninely chilling, like when the china doll follows you with its gaze and turns in the corner. Dolls are always scary!

It’s very hard to describe this book without giving away the story in spoilers, but it involves fairy folk and changelings and creatures that live on the edge of our existence. But it is a book about so much more than that. Grief, obviously. Acceptance and understanding of others, too.

This is the first of Frances Hardinge’s books that I have read, and it will not be the last. From the very beginning the story was gripping, and the writing, immediate.

Originally published at shepline: the journal. You can comment here or there.

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