Tag Archives: books

Do you love fiction?

 If so, we’d love to hear what you think about the books you read and how your reading habits have changed over the last few years.  Author, Kate Harrison, is hosting this survey as part of research for the Romantic Novelists Association conference in July 2012.  You will be able to find results on Kate‘s own website, the RNA, and here on the Madeleine Milburn Agency blog.

The book world has been changing rapidly thanks to new technology like ebooks – and new distractions like Facebook.  But are we really all too distracted by Facebook and Farmville to lose ourselves in a great book – or is the desire for a great story as strong as ever?

We’d really like to hear your views – and your answers will help authors, booksellers and publishers to understand how your choices and tastes are changing.  If you have a few minutes to spare to help us, then please click here – and feel free to forward the survey to any of your book-loving friends or family members.



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My favourite UK book trailer

Intrigued? Order your copy of NIGHT SCHOOL.

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CHELSEA WIVES on facebook

A lot of my clients ask me how to make the best use of social networking sites for publicising their books.  Although the thought of self-promotion in this way might seem daunting and even intimidating, the fact is that we are so lucky to live in an age where we can work with our publishers on self-promotion, and we now have the most incredible tools to do so at our desks.

My authors have got fabulous websites, and a lot are now using networking sites such as facebook and Twitter to promote their work.  I want to show you Anna-Lou Weatherley’s new facebook page that has been launched in the run up to publication of her début, CHELSEA WIVES, HarperCollins / Avon June 2012.


On her page, Ann-Lou enjoys facebook to the max by giving extra information about each of her characters – their favourite designers, restaurants, shops, drinks, and even makeup!  This will become an addictive extension of the book, with giveaways and competitions, fashion tips and advice that we’ll be interested in before, during and after reading the book itself.  Among the magazines Ann-Lou  has written for are Grazia, New Woman, B, Glamour, Company and Marie Claire. She knows this world inside out, and she’s giving us an exclusive taste.  There are tons of ways you can use social networking sites, working with the genre of your books, your characters and themes.

CHELSEA WIVES will hit the shelves this June, and you can make sure you get your hands on a copy by pre-ordering here

This is Desperate Housewives meets First Wives Club set in the glamorous borough of Chelsea.

They are the ultimate ladies who lunch: Imogen, the beautiful ex-model, Calgary, the glamorous, former fashion editor, and Yasmin, the feisty ex-party girl.  But life isn’t all champagne and canapés.  Plagued by personal tragedy and united by failing marriages, they mastermind a shocking plan to turn the tables on their husbands.

Set against a backdrop of exotic locations, designer boutiques and London’s high society scene, these Chelsea Wives are about to join forces and risk it all for the ultimate revenge…

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Welcome to the Agency

Since the Madeleine Milburn Representation Competition, the Agency has taken on a new client.  Welcome Nuala Casey to the Madeleine Milburn Literary, TV & Film Agency!

Nuala is currently in her final year of an MA in Creative Writing at York St John University and she lives in York with her husband and five year old son.  Nuala submitted the first three opening chapters of her London based novel, Soho, 4am, to the Agency, and an hour later we had requested the complete manuscript and read it in one go.

All the action in the novel takes place in Soho over the course of twenty-four hours. It is set against the background of two real events. The first is the announcement in Trafalgar Square of London’s successful bid to stage the 2012 Olympic Games. The second is the terrorist bombing on the Underground when, overnight, the mood of the city changes from one of euphoria to one of horror.

I can’t give any further information about the story as we are currently preparing the manuscript for submission to UK publishers.

After graduating from Durham in 2001, Nuala moved to London where she worked in the busy, eccentric office of the Chelsea Arts Club by day and sang in various nightspots around London by night. The experiences she had while living there, and the characters she met, formed the basis of what would go on to become Soho, 4am.

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‘Frankfurt book of the Fair’ author, C.J. Daugherty, talks to us about NIGHT SCHOOL

C.J. Daugherty, author of the hottest Young Adult début at the Frankfurt book fair 2011, is here to talk about her international success so far.  NIGHT SCHOOL, the first in a series, was published in the UK by Atom / Little, Brown in January to great critical acclaim.  

Rights have already been bought by 17 different publishers who will each produce their own edition.  NIGHT SCHOOL will be published in the US next summer, and foreign editions will be published both this year and next.  Having worked for Frommer’s Travel Guides, Christi is now a fulltime fiction writer.  She gives us an exclusive insight into her life as a writer and her reaction to the international success of NIGHT SCHOOL so far.



At the Frankfurt Book Fair 2011, NIGHT SCHOOL was the hottest Young Adult book pitched to publishers around the world, and translation rights were bought by 17 different foreign publishers.  How does it make you feel to have so many editions of your book?

I’ve always dreamed of this, so to have it actually happen is thrilling! The first translations are being published now – so, aside from the UK and Commonwealth countries, Night School is only out so far in Spain and France, but I’ve seen the advance covers for the editions in The Netherlands and Germany, and they look gorgeous.

Why do you think NIGHT SCHOOL has this international appeal?

I suppose there are two things. First, the timeless attraction of the British boarding school. This is always fascinating, especially to those of us who attended ordinary state schools. It seems extraordinary to go away from home so early and be put into the care of strangers. It’s so far from most people’s experiences that we become fascinated by it. There’s a mixture of romance and terror to it.

Then there’s the idea of trust — which is universal. My main character, Allie, discovers she’s been lied to by her family and friends, and so loses her ability to trust anyone. She begins to wonder if she can tell the difference between a truth and a lie. Anybody who’s ever been betrayed by someone they trusted knows what that feels like. It’s like the ground shifts beneath your feet, and just for a second you wonder if there’s any honesty in the world. I think we can all relate to that.

Who is your favourite foreign publisher?

NO! Don’t make me pick. I love them ALL.

Are your books published simultaneously around the world?

Each publisher has its own publication date based on its own publishing schedule that they think is most likely to ensure that buyers will discover the book. As I’m a debut writer without name recognition, this is very important. So it comes out at different times in different countries. Book 2 in the series will be out in the UK before Book 1 comes out in the US, for example.

NIGHT SCHOOL is published by Atom in the UK and yet the US edition is going to be published by HarperCollins in the US in 2013 – do they have different visions for your book?

I wouldn’t say their visions are very different, but we did do a separate edit for the US market. This was mostly to Americanise it a bit, so that words and phrases that are too ‘English’ don’t confuse readers. For example, Americans don’t use the word ‘skip’ to refer to a garbage container at a building site. And the word ‘jumper’ means ‘child’s dress’ in the US but ‘sweater’ in the UK.  Beyond that we made a few minor structural changes — the start of the book is shorter in the US than in the UK. But in all other ways it’s the same book.

Does each foreign publisher organise the translations of the manuscript themselves?

Yes they do, and so far, I’m very happy with them!  Agents choose foreign publishers for their clients in part based on their reputation for producing quality translations. So to that extent, we then rely on the publishers to translate the book well. A few translators working on my book have been in touch to make sure they’re getting certain words just right, and I love that attention to detail!  There’s no German word for ‘summer house’ for example, so I sent the translator photos of summer houses so she could know which German word to use. Slang and colloquialisms have to be changed to the local equivalent as well. The translators I’ve worked with have been super diligent. And I admire them tremendously! The intricate language knowledge you need to translate an entire book is incredible.

What do you feel about the different foreign covers and interpretations for your book?

I love discovering each publisher’s take on Night School! The Dutch cover is somehow delicate and gives the impression of vulnerability. The German cover is very mysterious and classic. The American cover is still being designed but so far it looks thrilling! And the UK, Spain and French covers — which are the same — highlight Allie’s anger and wounded soul beautifully. I can’t wait to see the rest.

Does each foreign publisher use the same title?

Most of them are using ‘Night School’. But in some cases they can’t. Sometimes the phrase doesn’t have the same meaning when translated into a particular language. Sometimes there’s another book with the same title coming out at the same time. The Dutch publisher translated the title as ‘Society of the Night’. The Polish title will be ‘The Chosen Ones’.

Do you enjoy publicity events and signings? 

I do enjoy them — I love meeting readers because I’m one myself!  Events can be amazing — I firmly believe that people who like Night School are the loveliest, funniest people you’ll ever meet. So getting a chance to talk with them in person is always brilliant. But I’m careful not to do too many because I think you can end up running from one event to another, and suddenly find you don’t have any time to write. And taking long, luxuriant time to write is the best part of being a writer!

How important is your website and social media in getting new readers?

It’s so important to have a web presence. It’s the modern telephone. Through Twitter, Facebook and my blog I talk every single day with readers and book bloggers. It not only allows them to keep up with me, but it’s a two-way street — it allows me to keep up with THEM, which is just as important. I want to know the latest books out there, and the hot new writers. And at the same time, I want to be able to show off the new covers for the book, let people know where I’ll be signing, and just generally gab about the weather when I’m procrastinating. Procrastination is the mother-in-law of writing, you know.

Which books influenced you when writing this series?

I am always influenced by Cassandra Clare — her Mortal Instruments series combines the thriller and romance genres so skilfully. I also very much liked the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. And, of course, Twilight. But I was, if anything, more influenced by TV series. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a big influence on me,  as was Firefly (so, basically, anything by Joss Whedon) and the Gilmore Girls. The teenagers I know are irreverent and funny, and I want my books to reflect that. Whedon and Amy Sherman-Palladino (who made Gilmore Girls) are writers as well as directors and producers, and they both always get that tone just right.

How many hours a day do you spend writing?

I probably spend five hours of an average day just sitting at the table writing.

How much time do you spend on self-promotion?

About the same amount. About four to five hours. I usually spend the morning answering email, tweeting, updating my blog or Facebook page. And answering questionnaires like this one!   I spend afternoons and early evenings writing and revising.

How long do you have to write the second book in the series?

The first draft of the second book is completed and I’m now working on the first revision. Writing it took about four and a half months. Revising it will probably take a couple of months. I expect it to be fully complete by the end of July.

How many more books are you writing in the NIGHT SCHOOL series?

I envision the full series as five books.

Can you give us a hint about what happens next?

First of all *THIS ANSWER CONTAINS SPOILERS* So if you haven’t finished reading Night School stop now and skip to the next question!

Allie has a lot to process at the end of Book 1. She’s found out that her family are not who she thought they were, and she knows her mother lied to her. In Book 2 she will learn who the mysterious Lucinda is. She’ll find out why Nathaniel is after her, and she’ll learn more about what happened to her brother, Christopher. She’ll also see Night School from the inside, and this could change how she feels about it. Most importantly, she will get stronger. And, since knowledge is power, she’ll be better able to take care of her herself. She’s tired of being rescued.

Do you feel that YA fiction will continue to be as popular and have the same crossover appeal as series such as TWILIGHT and THE HUNGER GAMES?

Absolutely. I feel that Twilight opened the Pandora’s box of YA, and now it will not be closed again. People — not just young people, but adults, too — are buying these books in droves, so I cannot imagine publishers ever stopping. I think the attraction of YA goes beyond the obvious books-geared-at-teens thing. I think YA is attractive because it is an area in which publishers allow — even encourage — writers to bust traditional genres.  I’m relishing the freedom YA gives me to take chances with my characters. To write thrilling chase scenes and violent fights, and hot-and-heavy love scenes.

Where can I buy my copy of NIGHT SCHOOL? 

My website has links to all the online book stores: http://www.cjdaugherty.com/

You can buy it here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Night-School-C-J-Daugherty/dp/1907411216/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336736105&sr=8-1

And here: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/c-+j-+daugherty/night+school/8556473/

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Victoria Fox on why an island setting for her new novel was too tempting to resist…

TEMPTATION ISLAND, the brand new novel by Victoria Fox, is out next month.  In the run up to publication, Victoria shares the real reasons for her island setting…

‘An island is its own world. Bound by water, it is fixed, delineated, a perfect whole, set like a jewel on the cushion of the ocean. Standing on its shores, looking out to a blank horizon, it might be that this is the only place on Earth. It is a private kingdom, a secret fortress: a place where anything can happen.

Is this why islands seduce us? Containment is a primal instinct, the urge to occupy a manageable, knowable state. Islands imply safety, but they also imply danger. As children we see islands as things that can be possessed, or bought, or ruled: the coveted castle. For adults this translates to ultimate exclusivity, a getaway empire all our own. Islands equal power.

Power in isolation is a perilous thing. On her own plot, the islander imposes her own systems. Nobody to issue instruction or sentence; nobody comes to judge. Water, blue and deep, as vast and anonymous as the sky, holds her in and holds others out. It keeps at bay, and it keeps from bay . . . Time passes, and soon it is impossible to tell the difference. Autocracy: the definitive island fantasy?

Islands are part of civilisation but also distinct from it. The mainland exists somewhere beyond reach, but like anything that can’t be seen or felt it fast becomes a myth. It would be easy to imagine you were the only thing. What could you get up to; how would you spend your days? What good could come from quarantine, and what evil?

Before it is written, a book is an island. The author arrives with ideas to populate and grow; the imagination colonises, building a stage set according to its rules. Novels, like islands, are an enduring fiction of government and supremacy: a means of control in an otherwise uncontrollable world.

Picture an island, far from anywhere. It is self-regulated, unrestrained and free to do as it pleases. It masquerades as something it’s not, because the truth it is guarding can never be known. Inhabit it with extreme, obscene celebrity; wealth that knows no limits; power and fame beyond even the wildest invention; sex that burns and urges uninhibited. Is it heaven on earth, or a devil’s playground?

Paradise comes at a price. In a culture of excess, where can we go next? When in possession of everything, a blank canvas becomes the only object of desire: it marks a clean slate, a fresh start and a chance to begin again. We return to the island. We write the rules; we devise the philosophy. And then we tempt others to follow us there.’

Follow this link to pre-order a copy of Victoria’s latest book, Temptation Island.

To read more about Victoria Fox and her books, visit her website.

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Publication announcement

Congratulations L.A. Jones on the publication of her utterly arresting début THE NIGHTMARE FACTORY.  This is the first in a series for 8-12 year olds about a boy who is stolen from his dreams and sent to the place where nightmares are made.

Orchards Books / Hachette publish today, on the 3rd May, and the novel will be widely available around the UK.  Lucy kindly tells us below how THE NIGHTMARE FACTORY came to life.

What made you write THE NIGHTMARE FACTORY?

I wanted to be an author from a very early age. I started writing The Nightmare Factory when I was 21, while I was largely house-bound with M.E.

The idea came to me in a dream. It was so vivid; I can still remember it today. A brother and sister were trying to escape from a factory which made nightmares for the rest of the world. I grabbed a pad and pen and scribbled down everything that I’d dreamt. Then I went back to sleep. In the morning, I began writing the first chapter of The Nightmare Factory.

Can you sum the novel up in one line?

Everything changes for Andrew and his sister when they are stolen from their dreams by mysterious creatures woven from shadows, and taken to the place where nightmares are made.

Who will it appeal to?

Fans of Darren Shan and Derek Landy. Although aimed at children 8+ it will also appeal to adults who are young at heart.

Are you excited about publication?

Yes! I have been dreaming of this day my entire life, so now that it’s actually here, it feels quite surreal. The best part was seeing my book in the flesh for the very first time and realising that all the hard work had paid off.

Were you pleased with the cover that Orchard Books chose?

Yes! I absolutely love it! I think it really stands off the shelf.

What’s next in terms of writing?

I have a great idea for a middle grade series which I am really excited about writing. I can’t say too much yet, but it’s a thriller like the Nightmare Factory, with a bit of horror added in for good measure.

Buy your copy here.  If you love this, you only have to wait until the Autumn for the second book in THE NIGHTMARE FACTORY series: RISE OF THE SHADOWMARES!

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