An amazing thing is just about to occur in my world. My new novel, Jewel Sea, is going live as a serial with the brilliantly innovative UK publisher, The Pigeonhole – today!
This means that across the UK and wherever else in the world the Pigeon flies, Jewel Sea will be delivered in snack-sized reading morsels direct to The Pigeonhole subscribers’ phones. These subscribers form one great big digital book club, and at the same time, across this next week of communal Jewel Sea serial reading, I’ll be chatting to those readers – in real time – as we journey through the story together.
This is blowing my mind, and we haven’t even kicked off yet – still two hours to go until showtime!
The way we’re reading and receiving stories is changing at lightning pace, and as much as it can all be a bit bamboozling, it’s pretty wonderful, too. The world feels fabulously small at this moment, for me.
In a lovely way, we’re also returning to an old-fashioned idea here, with the serialisation of novels. Designed for busy people who are reading on the go, it’s not unlike the way Charles Dickens’ works were published more than a hundred and fifty years ago: as chunks to be devoured in a weekly sitting, shared with the family, argued over with friends at the pub. In fact his first novel, The Pickwick Papers, set off the whole trend for this style of reading – and I think he’d be fascinated and delighted at the way the old is becoming new again with the internet. I’m certain he’d be wide-eyed and grinning at the global, instantaneous reach of story today, too.
But there’s another loveliness here for me, in this digital flight of Jewel Sea, and a very unexpected one. This is the first time one of my novels has been taken up by a publisher overseas. Once upon a time, I was told that my stories were too parochial and my language too peculiar to Australia to garner any interest outside these wide brown bounds of home. I was told – quite bluntly and without asking – by a stuffy old-school publisher that the English in particular would never be convinced I had anything much to say.
Well, ahem. Never say never, I say! Especially in this day and age.
What an adventure this Pigeonholing will be. What a thrill. And one that wouldn’t be happening without my equally brilliant and innovative Australian publisher, The Author People.
I’m putting on my virtual flying cap and goggles, synchronising watches and already laughing that the London-Sydney time difference will mean I’m probably not going to get much sleep this week.
Bring it on!
Image above is, of course, the fearless Katherine Hepburn.