Writer, editor, tutor, cloudwatcher, resident of Transylvania
Author: Arabella McIntyre-Brown
I'm a writer from West Sussex is southern England, but after 30 years of urban life in London and Liverpool, I now live in a remote village 1,000 metres up in the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania. My first book in Romania was published in November 2016: "Din Liverpool in Carpati: cum mi-am gasit fericirea în inima Transilvaniei". The English version, 'A stake in Transylvania' is out soon. I've also written (so far) four bilingual (En/Ro) children's books.
On the first day of Bookfest 2019 in Bucharest, I had an audience to talk about my book A Stake in Transylvania. This is how much I enjoyed it.
Thanks to Bookfest’s clever photographer…
And at the very end of the day, as a very unexpected bonus, the British Ambassador introduced me to one Klaus Iohannis, President of Romania. And to my great surprise, he recognised me… “Is it possible that I’ve seen you in a documentary?” he asked. “It’s possible,” I replied. Here’s the evidence (the Prez is the tallest in the line-up)
“De-abia așteptam sa ajungă cartea asta, sunt atât de nerăbdătoare sa o citesc ca am început lectura de la semafor!😌
Visez de mult ca intr-o buna zi as putea sa ma mut și eu intr-o căsuța pitoreasca la munte,in inima Transilvaniei, deși la o analiza mai atenta pare imposibil acum (drumuri, infrastructura, utilități, scoli, etc)… Sunteți o inspirație pentru mine și pana acum îmi place cartea la nebunie!”
“I could hardly wait for this book to arrive, I was so eager to read it that I started in the car, while sitting at the traffic lights! 😌
“I dream very much that someday I could move myself into a picturesque mountain village, in the heart of Transylvania, although a more careful analysis now seems impossible (roads, infrastructure, utilities, schools, etc). You’re an inspiration to me and so far I love the book to madness!”
But what style of cover will people like most, do you think? I’ve picked some covers that I like – they are not all about the same subjects as my book, and are not all modern. I like them for all sorts of reasons.
But… which two of these covers would you pick up off the table in the bookshop? Which would pique your curiosity and make you look at the back cover?
Have a quick look and go with your first instincts. In a bookshop it takes one or two seconds for someone to choose a book to pick up and look at – so first impressions are crucial. Don’t think about it too hard!
Let me know the titles in the comments below – and if you have a moment, tell me why you like them.
I plan to write more, to give an airing to various aspects of Romania’s book world – not just to give readers a better idea of how much value they get for their 40 lei, but to spot opportunities in the publishing world and to highlight good practice and book world stars. What do you think of the article? I’d love to read your candid comments.
Dahlia’s Pet Detectives (Dalia si micii detectivi) will be in the spotlight at the end of next week (Thursday 31st May, Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd June) when my new book is launched at Bucuresti’s Bookfest (Romexpo).
If you read Floss the lost puppy, you’ll recognise the village of Fân (Hay) where Dahlia and Chip are neighbours and schoolmates of Thea and Tudor Thimble. A completely new story, but set in the same Transylvanian village, high up in the Carpathian Mountains.
Spring is well sprung. Compared to last year, when the end of April saw me wading through knee-deep snow in late April, wrapped in thermal layers against the -8C freeze, this year it was sun, and no rain all month so we were beginning to face the horrible prospect of drought.
But early May has seen lots of gentle rain and the very occasional thunderstorm, which is perfect for the earth and growing things. ‘Nori si soare’ says the weather forecast. Occasional ‘furtuna’ warnings with lightning symbols lancing through the cloud, and so it’s proving. Perfect mixed weather for the cycle of wildflower meadows and sweet hay, and happy herbivores munching through lush spring grass. Glorious.
That’s the plan… I should be with the Romanian Cultural Institute on 10th April to launch their LBF event at 1pm in the Olympia venue – and again that evening at Waterstones Gower Street. Have a look at the event link here.
But will I make it? I’m waiting to hear from my housesitters, due to arrive in Romania today to look after my animals while I’m away. But there’s no word tonight, and I’m feeling very twitchy…
What happens if they don’t turn up? Do I leave the animals untended, to be fed by neighbours? Do I not go to London? What would you do?
This was today. This is winter in the village. Saturday – I woke up late (10am, shameful) to find more snow falling. Forecast is dire. Fridge close to empty, gas bottle getting light. If I don’t go down to Zarnesti NOW, I might be stuck for weeks. So…
Car under tarpaulin so that’s okay – no shovelling of snow off the vehicle. But the battery is dead as the proverbial dodo. Trudge up to the neighbour and beg for help. He’s happy, as ever, and cracks open the crocodile clips and the power pack with the longest cable imaginable – about half a mile of it, seemingly. Bonnet up, clips clipped to battery, men retire to shed, I sit in chilly car while juice flows to battery. Now then I try the ignition and slowly, slowly, there are signs of life. After 20 minutes, the ignition roars. I hoot for…
Your first book is published. Fame at last! Followed swiftly by fortune, one hopes. But will your publisher help you along the way to fame? Unlikely, unless you’re already famous. This article outlines the truth of book marketing for unknown authors, but be prepared for unvarnished truth you might find deeply depressing.
All that effort to get the book written, perfected, and published… and the copies sit on the warehouse shelves waiting for the news to get out. Book signings, lit festivals, blog tours, press releases, book trailers, social media campaigns, celeb endorsements, reviews… the publisher’s job, yes?
No. For an unknown first-timer, no. Publishers’ marketing budgets go on big name authors, not newbies. A hard fact of the writing life.