Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cover Art - chance to vote!

I'm very pleased to say that the cover art for the US hardbacked edition of The Vanishing of Katharina Linden has also been nominated for The Rap Sheet's finest crime novel covers of the year. You can see all the nominees here, and vote too if you like:

I quite like this website because once you voted you can see who has had how many votes! OK, The Vanishing isn't in the lead (maybe if you vote...?) but it's doing pretty well.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas crime, anyone?

People quite often ask me at readings and signings whether The Glass Demon is a sequel to The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, and which one they should buy(!). The Glass Demon isn't in fact a sequel, although a minor character from The Vanishing does make an appearance. You can read The Glass Demon without having read The Vanishing.
It's a little more difficult to suggest which book someone should buy - especially if the person is buying it as a gift for someone else. It did occur to me, though, that The Vanishing of Katharina Linden might make quite an appropriate Christmas present, as the action of the book begins and ends in Advent. In fact, the freak accident with which the book opens occurs at an Advent dinner. There's even snow in the final scenes - you can't get much more seasonal than that! So if you know someone who fancies a bit of murder and mayhem with their Christmas lunch, maybe they'd like the book...

Goodreads Choice Awards 2010

I'm delighted to say that the cover design for The Vanishing of Katharina Linden (US edition, Delacorte) has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Awards, Cover Art category.

If you like the cover design, with its elegant cat, please do vote for it on the Goodreads site here:

There are also lots of other categories in which you can vote for your favourite books of the year, so if you're passionate about books, take a look!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Glass Demon - definitely "PG"

I'm very pleased to say that the book trailer for The Glass Demon is now ready and you can see it at the link below!
The film has actually been finished for a couple of weeks but we decided to produce the Norwegian version first in honour of the recent publication of the book in Norway by Vendetta Forlag. Here, finally, is the English version!
A word of warning: the trailer contains some gruesome shots and is not suitable for younger children (or possibly people of a sensitive disposition...).

The trailer was made by Lumiere Productions, who once again did a fabulous job on the minimalistic budget that the author (blush) could afford. I'll be blogging again soon with some more details about the making of the film - I'd love to know how Lalla Merlin, the director, managed to get that shot of Herr Mahlberg, for example! Meanwhile, I hope you will enjoy the video.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Let's build an igloo, says Sporty Outdoor Hubs

A couple of years ago, when we still lived in Germany, we visited the Königsmuseum in Bonn and saw a film about Inuit constructing an igloo. The museum also had a set of large white blocks so that you could have a go at making your own (perhaps they still have them - I hope so, because my kids thought they were fab). I'm not sure whether it was that museum visit that sowed the seeds of the idea, but this week, when the snow lay thick upon the ground here in Flanders, Sporty Outdoor Hubs suddenly decided to build his own igloo. The kids joined in, too.
I stayed indoors and made cups of tea and warming stews. Someone has to do that; I saw myself rather in the role of the person who stays at Base Camp whilst the others try to do Mount Everest. (I managed to do a jigsaw and watch Pan's Labyrinth too in the unaccustomed peace indoors, but that's another story and quite an incidental benefit. Honest.)
It's amazing how much snow you need to build an igloo; they used up nearly all the snow in the front AND back gardens. Hubs found a plastic storage box which they used as a mould for making each snow brick. The kids helped transport the full mould across the garden on a sledge, and then turned it out on the igloo wall. It took them most of two afternoons to complete the igloo, which was good, actually, because a bit of snow fell in between and plastered over the joins in the bricks very nicely.
They decided to build the igloo as a complete hemisphere first and then cut in the doorway afterwards, which was sensible because it meant there was no subsidence as the top layers of bricks went on. Once the hemisphere was built, my son cut the doorway with a saw. We all stood back to admire the effect for a bit, and then hubs went off to find some candles. Apparently the correct thing to do is light a few candles and put them inside the completed igloo for a bit, so that the indoor surface will melt very slightly. When it freezes again, you have a smooth and hopefully draught-free wall.
They all crawled inside to see what it was like. "Warmer than you'd think," was the verdict. We left the candles burning for a bit; it looked so cosy that even the cat went out to investigate. Sporty Outdoor Hubs thinks it might even be possible to sleep out in it! Think I'll stay at Base Camp again, thanks...

NOTE: The kids had brilliant fun doing this, but if you decide to try it with yours, make sure they're not left to play inside unattended. That's quite a lot of snow, and if it collapsed, it could be dangerous.

Friday, December 3, 2010

What's that you say? Don't judge a book by its cover..?

The Vanishing of Katharina Linden has now been published in Great Britain, the USA, Holland, Germany and Spain (still to come: Norway, who have already published The Glass Demon, Brazil, Italy and Romania). I'm fascinated to see the different ways in which the book has been interpreted in the cover art.
People sometimes ask me whether I decide what goes on the cover of my books. On the whole, no! Most of my publishers show me the proposed designs, some ask for feedback, but I'm not the person who creates the cover - which means it's always a thrill for me to see what the cover artist has come up with.
The latest launch was by Planeta in Spain, and I absolutely LOVE the brilliant, quirky Tim Burton-esque cover (left). I've shown it to groups of high school students at a recent school visit, and judging by the smiles, they loved it too. It has a great combination of creepiness and humour. The muted colours and the big scared-looking eyes of the two children suggest the dark content of the book, but I can't help laughing at Stefan's funny little face peeping out from behind Pia! The cover design was created by artist Gabriel Salvado; you can see more of his work here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eldibuixant/
Take a look too at some of the other cover designs, from the US, Holland, the UK and Germany. They all interpret the book in different ways, and all beautifully in my opinion. The US design focuses on the black cat Pluto, who plays a small but significant role in the book. The Dutch and British designs focus on Katharina Linden herself, the vanishing girl. The German design uses a photograph but with strong red tones creating a threatening effect.
Which one do you like best? Which best expresses the essence of the book? I'd love some feedback!