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05/07/2010 07:12 PM

18 days to go! On May 25th, The Whole World will be officially out in the US and Canada (though you may well see it around earlier–launch dates aren’t super-exact, except in special cases like Harry Potter).

The export to the UK is set for July 1st. I’ll be having a launch party/signing at Heffers in Cambridge on Friday July 9th at 6:30pm–if you live around here, you’ll receive an invitation. All are welcome, so feel free to bring friends!

Of course I hope everyone in the wide world will buy this book and read it–but I also understand that, for personal reasons you don’t need to justify, books are expensive and reading is a commitment of time and energy. If you don’t buy the book, or buy it but don’t read it, or read a library copy, PLEASE don’t feel you need to hide that from me or apologize. I would hate for my book to cause discomfort–you don’t need to explain yourself, and I trust in your good wishes for me.

If you want to help in some way:

1) Come to one of my bookstore events, if you can. (Bring friends!)

2) If you’re weighing whether to buy the book at a store or through Amazon: a store purchase is more helpful to the book, if all things are equal for you. BUT if buying from Amazon is significantly easier for you, that’s cool too. I appreciate every sale.
(You can find an indie bookstore close to you by going to to )

3) After you’ve read it, if you genuinely like it, you might want to post a review on Amazon or Goodreads (or Library Thing, or wherever you hang out and talk books πŸ™‚ Β The most respected reviews are specific about what they like.

THE WHOLE WORLD will probably eventually be shelved in the “mystery” section of your bookstore, though I hope in the first few weeks it will be up front on “new releases” tables in some of them. I have no “co-op” (which is when the publisher pays for front table or endcap space), so I really can’t be sure where it will be. If you see a particularly nice display, consider taking a pic and sending it to me!

Remember back when marketing was putting all that hyperbole into the book description? Well, now they’ve put hyperbole into describing me! My publicist has given me PDFs of the press release and related docs–you can find them on my website at

We leave for the U.S. on June 2nd, and come home July 6th. I’ll be doing around 25 book-related events/activities in 8 states. I’m kind of starting to lose my mind. So many DETAILS! Plus, we’ll be traveling as a family: husband, with laptop and cell phone; our two boys; and my mom. We’re only staying in one hotel the whole time; in all other places, generous friends/family are putting us up.

PS–Writing the next book is HARD TO DO when one is spending all one’s time writing blog posts, interview answers and Cambridge-related articles. All this promotion is crazy! But one must use the month one has–a lot of places will only review new fiction, and a book gets a sales reputation quickly. I’m doing the best I can.

Emily Winslow
Delacorte Press / Random House
Hardcover, May 25th US / UK 1st July


04/19/2010 10:56 AM

That darned Icelandic ash cloud!

The London Book Fair is this week, and is still going forward despite the lack of air travel into Europe. Lots of foreign rights deal are brokered at LBF, so this is a big loss. I was going to meet my agent there tomorrow–alas, she’ll not be there. (If you don’t already know, a volcano in Iceland has spewed an ash cloud over Europe that is dangerous to plane engines. No flights in or out of Europe for days.)

Export Info

So far, all my book launch info has centered around America. I finally have news for this side of the ocean!

Random House US has decided to export THE WHOLE WORLD to the UK, with an on-sale date of July 1.

I’ll be having a book launch party at Heffer’s in Cambridge in early July, followed the next week by participation in Bodies in the Bookshop, an annual crime fiction event, also at Heffer’s. I’ll let you know more as details develop.

Apparently, there is a niche market for Cambridge-set fiction first editions. Who knew?? I just found out from Heffer’s bookseller Richard Reynolds that collectors have already started placing orders.

I have a blog now!

It’s both a kind of diary of crossing the line between unpublished and published, and also a reference of the various promotional tips and resources I’ve been compiling in conversation with other authors. The early entries are on promotional topics such as Facebook, Amazon, Goodreads. etc. I’m equally interested in reader comments as writer ones; if you have any opinions on the subjects, I hope you’ll stop by and say something. New posts will go up regularly.

With reviews completely out of my control, I’ve been busy trying to control what media I can. This is what I’ve got coming in print:

A profile of Cambridge bookseller Richard Reynolds in the July issue of Deadly Pleasures mystery review quarterly.
A profile of me and my dad as game inventors/puzzle designers in Games magazine’s August issue (on newsstands in June).
An essay about Cambridge museums in my grad school museum professions newsletter in May.

And this is what’s scheduled online:

A series of Cambridge travel tip posts on Anglotopia in the month of June.
A guest post at Quest for Kindness.
A guest post and giveaway at Free Book Friday.
And, of course, my usual Monday posts at The Debutante Ball

I have hope for a few other things; will let you know if they come through.

Powell’s Books says about THE WHOLE WORLD:
“Dealing deftly with themes of escape and rejection, Winslow announces her arrival as a dynamic voice on the literary landscape. Her elegantly plotted mystery follows five unforgettable characters and examines the seismic consequences of collected trauma.”

Isn’t that nice!

Absolute Write, a wonderful online community, has put my book cover up in the topmost ad space, which means it’s the first thing you see on literally every page of their active discussion forums. This space is specifically reserved for community members’ books, and I’m honored to be there. It’s also kind of initimidating. On the day it went up, I couldn’t face visiting the site at all. Becoming a “public person,” even a very minor one, feels very strange!

Hoo-boy–I’m going to attempt to tweet. It doesn’t come naturally to me, but writers I respect have urged me to give it a try. If you’re on Twitter, you can find me at emilycwinslow (that’s with a “c” for my middle initial).

Yes, I’m still working on the next book. I keep getting distracted by all this promotional stuff, though. Very hard to find balance.

Lastly, on this coming Sunday Gavin and I will be attending a day-school in crime scene investigation at a local manor house, Madingley Hall. I have no idea if this will be intensive and technical, or more a murder-mystery-party type thing. Should be fun either way!

This is a very exciting time, and intimidating and strange and overwhelming. Thanks for sharing it with me!

Emily Winslow
Delacorte Press / Random House
Hardcover, May 25th 2010 US / July 1st 2010 UK

02/11/2010 11:04 AM

Hi all! Here’s the latest update to do with The Whole World. May 25th, the official launch date, isn’t too far away!

The text is now unchangeable, and I dare not look at it. I know I would find some error or infelicity that would make me crazy.

You can see my cover here at my website:
I have had my first online mention here, thanks to novelist Carla Buckley:

“Winslow writes exquisitely and with great honesty, each character picking up the narrative and adding his or her own complex history so the result is a rich, multi-layered tale. The imagery is compelling: you can see the cascade of paper snowflakes, the shine of lights in the wet English rain. I was well past the halfway mark before I realized that The Whole World is about much, much more than what happened to one young man in the middle of an ordinary day.”

(I did not correct her that it’s set in Cambridge, not Oxford. I’m sure that’s not the last time that mistake will come up!)

I gave my first endorsement, to The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, by Helen Grant
which comes out in the US this August. (Endorsements, sometimes also called blurbs, are those quotes of praise you see on book covers.)

Chances are, I’m too small-fry for her to bother using my quote on her cover or press materials, but I was delighted to be asked. I said:

“I rubbed my hands together in anticipation when gossipy old Frau Kessel revealed that Katharina Linden hadn’t been the first to disappear–“No,” she said. “I mean the *other* ones.” That’s where the engaging voice of The Vanishing of Katharina Linden fuses with thrilling plot. It’s a smart, subtle crime novel, narrated by a young girl living in a town where young girls disappear.”

I’ve handed in the first half of the *next* book, and it’s been officially “accepted” (which means I’ve been paid! yay!). It’s called “The Start of Everything” and is a sequel to The Whole World, also set in Cambridge. My editor said the most calming thing ever–that the new book’s first narrator is the best character I’ve created yet. That whooping and hollering you hear from my end isn’t celebration; it’s relief! Coming up with an “as good” second book is a tough trick, and I was worried out of my head whether I could manage it. At least now I can think that I’ve started one.

My June tour:

For the whole month of June, I’ll be visiting U.S. bookstores. I’ve chosen towns where I’ve lived or have strong connections. It was tough deciding to stick to the coasts mostly, but we’re traveling with the whole family, and including the middle of the country proved to be difficult. I’ve been cautioned by several pro authors, and my publicist, that bookstore events are tricky. It’s very difficult to get an audience. So I’m taking the attitude that this is a chance to celebrate with my friends, and treating the events like personal parties where it just so happens you can buy the book (and where strangers are absolutely welcome and encouranged, but not depended on).

Also, I’m limiting myself to one event per area, in the hope of having lots of people at one event rather than low turnout at multiple events. This means: I really hope you’ll come, and perhaps even bring a friend or two. Closer to the time, I’ll send out particular invitations.

My publicist is booking the exact dates, but this is how my travel plans are shaping up in general:
(And to all who are involved with this more intimately, like Mary and Mom and Victoria–I’ll be emailing you soon with more details and questions etc.)

June 3rd-5th Maplewood, New Jersey (near NYC–just a 40 minute train from Penn Station!)
June 7th-9th Hudson, OH
June 11th-12th Washington DC
June 14th-17th California Bay Area
June 19th-22nd Southern California
June 24th-29th Portsmouth NH (to my Maine and Massachusetts friends–this means you, too πŸ™‚
June 30th-July 5 Westerly RI

If you live near any of the above areas, I hope I’ll see you at the event. If you have friends who like books, like mysteries, write, or just like coming to things, I hope you’ll consider inviting them.

If you’re part of a book club or writers’ group in any of the above areas, and would like me to meet with your group, I would love to! Please let me know.

If you have any connections to local media, I’d love to know.

If you know of any groups in the above areas who may be interested, please point me to them. I’m happy to give talks or do q-and-a or whatever suits. Any other ideas, let’s brainstorm!


The Whole World contains some swearing, some sexual interactions, and murder (but no gore). If that makes you uncomfortable, you don’t need to apologize or explain. I mention this because the content might affect who you wish to invite to an event or give the book to as a gift (or your choice of reading it yourself). I will add that none of the above is gratuitous.

*Thanks* to my wonderful US friends who have asked about pre-ordering on Amazon. I’m thrilled with however anyone wishes to buy The Whole World, and if you’ve pre-ordered or would like to, well, thanks! But, if you’re choosing from among several buying options, you might consider, closer to pub date, asking about The Whole World at your local bookstore, especially if it’s an independent bookstore. If your local bookseller knows you’re excited about it, they might get excited too.

To my UK friends: the UK edition is still a bit of a mystery. I’ll let you know when the dust has settled on those decisions. I can say that Heffer’s in Cambridge will be carrying it, whether as a US export or a seperate UK edition, and will be hosting an event (likely in May) where you can hear me read and buy signed copies. I’ll keep you updated.

I (with four other 2010 debut writers) continue blogging every Monday at
Check it out!


11/20/2009 07:31 PM

Hey all–Just had the best trip to New York! This is my first “business trip” since I flew to West Virginia in the mid nineties to interview telephone operaters about place-name pronunciations for a text-to-speech computer program. I feel very grown-up πŸ™‚


Gavin has to travel for work a lot, and so accrues thousands and thousands of air miles. I used some of them to book a first class ticket!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my! I felt like one of the fat people of the future in Wall*e. I just reclined, used the remote every now and then to choose a new episode of CSI Miami or The Office, and accepted the fancy food they kept putting in front of me πŸ™‚

Best Agent Ever

My agent, Cameron, is the best. She picked me up at JFK and I stayed at her place. She has a *lovely* family and is just plain terrific to hang out with. We had great pizza. And her husband makes good strong coffee.

The Agency

On Monday I went with Cameron to the Agency for the morning. We chatted with the agency head, Don Maass, for over an hour. He’s an absolute legend in publishing, and a wonderful person too. He gave me good advice about approaching the next book, and freaked me out with his flattery about “The Whole World.” Oh my goodness. Don Maass thinks my book is fab. I’m still floating.

Random House

Security at RH is intense. Sure, visitors need to check in in the lobby and get a special card to trigger the turnstile and get eyeballed by the security guard. But then, when exiting the elevator on any and all floors, there are security doors on either side of that area, which, I think, can only be triggered by real employee security cards. Even then, after we’ve gone through *those* security doors, there are more security doors when crossing into other areas on the same floor. I was baffled, but Gavin suggested “new Dan Brown.” I guess they have to be super-careful about anticipated bestsellers!


Randall introduced me around to various people working on producing the physical book. (Including Loren, production editor, from high school! Hi, Loren! She has a *great* view from her very cool office πŸ™‚ I was shocked at the way they lit up with recognition whenever he said my name. People at Random House know who I am!!!!!!!!


I’d been freaked about what to wear. Loren assured me jeans would be fine. I guess they were–no one seemed to mind! I wore a nice purple blazer on top, and it was so warm I didn’t need a coat.


I brought presents for everyone I expected to see. So much to juggle! 1) One never knows who drinks caffeine and who doesn’t, who drinks alcohol and who doesn’t, etc. I assumed that everyone likes chocolate, except for one person who I recall from an earlier lunch doesn’t. (Found out during lunch that my editor is allergic to flowers–good to know for the future!) 2) I wanted the gifts to be “Cambridgey”, both because it’s hard to find something that they couldn’t just get in New York, and because Cambridge is the setting of the book. 3) Had to be careful to not give things that were “too much”; need something to work up to at other milestones! 4) And must also keep hierarchy in mind, with perceived value. Conclusion: Photography and art books, a college scarf, a watercolor and lots of chocolate were all involved.


Greek restaurant. Yummy shrimp shishkebabs. Kate, my acquiring editor; Randall, my editing editor; and Katie, my publicist, who I was meeting for the first time. Me and my agent Cameron. Things I learned: 1) Since the restructuring two years ago, things are better organized to support a book over the long term all the way into trade paperback, not just primarily on launch of the hardcover, which is reassuring. 2) Randall has been WONDERFUL about talking up the book in-house. 3) Endorsements (also called “blurbs”), which are those quotes of praise from other authors that you see on covers, are hard to get, because the people you want are already swamped with requests. We’re starting to angle for those now. 4) Even though the book launches in May, the sales machine (meaning pitching to booksellers) is already in motion. My job at the lunch: to be interesting and affable so that Katie the publicist will feel comfortable booking me for interviews.

Best Editor Ever

Randall makes awesome homemade macaroons πŸ™‚

Tacos for Dinner

There is no Mexican food in Cambridge. There is *great* Mexican food in Brooklyn. Thanks, Cameron!

Deb Sarah

Sarah Pekkanan, one of the other authors part of this year’s Debutante Ball group blog (I post every Monday at, had a “media lunch” (ooh! fancy!) in New York while I was there, and we met for five minutes in front of Penn Station. So fun! I was also able to pass her an “ARC” of my book. Aside about ARCs: That stands for “Advance Reader Copy” though actually at RH they’re called AREs for “Advance Reader Edition”. ARCs are what reviewers get to read, because they need the books well in advance of launch. These copies are paperback, don’t have the cover yet, and are pre-proofreading, so reviewers aren’t allowed to quote from them. I needed to pass one on to Sarah, because all us on the blog will be talking each other up when our various books launch.

Pam apt

My sister Pamela lives in the skyscraper above Random House. Her *gorgeous* apartment is on the corner and has floor-to-ceiling views of lovely New York. What a treat to stay there for my last day! That seemed better than waking my agent up at 4:50 AM when I caught the airport shuttle super early the next morning. Plus it was convenient to meeting up with…

Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad met me for lunch at Pam’s apartment. Dad was so thrilled to see my ARE. Mom took pictures of him hugging it πŸ™‚

Massage, Meloni

I went out for reflexology (which is tough to find in Cambridge) and, on the elevator back to the apartment after, I saw Christopher Meloni from Law & Order: SVU. Nice man! That was fun πŸ™‚

Airport Lounge

Man, those places are *great* for getting things done. It was time to get back to work on the book itself! After the copyedit of the manuscript, which I described in a previous email, there were the First Pass Pages. Those are the pages all laid out like in the final book. (And the interior is *gorgeous*.) I did a round of comments on the FPP before the trip, and then it was proofread. The *awesome* proofreader (and Randall and Loren) caught a dozen things, for which I’m really grateful. Then came the Second Pass Pages. Normally the Second Pass is kept in-house but, at my request, I was allowed to review an electronic copy–which I did in the airport lounge at Heathrow. Found two small things to correct. Yay! Productivity!


More reclining, more TV, more food, more relaxing. Amping up to get back into the rigors of “mommy mode” in Cambridge πŸ™‚


I feel like a pro now! My editor’s asked me to read another Random House manuscript and consider blurbing it. Hee hee! Someone thinks my opinion of a book might matter!

New Flap Copy

The flap-copy description of the book has been commented on by various departments and accordingly adapted. Such an interesting process! For example, there was concern that the emphasis on the undergraduate characters might turn off older readers. Anyway, here’s the revised version:

At once a sensual and irresistible mystery and a haunting work of rich psychological insight and emotional depth, The Whole World marks the beginning of a brilliant literary career for a superb, limitlessly gifted author.

Set in the richly evoked environs of Cambridge, England, The Whole World unearths the desperate secrets kept by five complex people-students, professors, detectives, husbands, mothers-secrets leading to explosive consequences….

Two Americans studying at Cambridge, Polly and Liv, become quick friends, strangers to their new home, survivors of past mistakes. Β They find a common interest in Nick, a handsome, charming, seemingly guileless graduate student. Β For a time, the three engage in harmless flirtation, growing closer while doing research for Gretchen Paul, the blind daughter of a famed novelist. Β But betrayal, followed by Nick’s inexplicable disappearance, brings long-buried histories to the surface.

The investigation raises countless questions, the newspapers report all the most salacious details-from the crime that scars Polly’s past to the searing truths concealed in the photographs Gretchen cannot see. Soon the three young lovers will discover how little they know about each other, and how devastating the ripples of past actions can be.

I queried a couple of things in there, but was overruled. No fuss; this is marketing, not content. For example, I don’t think the consequences “explode” so much, but Randall assures me that marketing likes explosions πŸ˜‰

Book 2

Lots of talk about the next book. Second books are hard!! But hearing Cameron talk up the two sections I’ve let her read, and learning how eager my editors are about it, really encouraged me. A deadline is pressure, but it’s nice to be wanted πŸ™‚ Must get back to work on that now! Cameron gave me really helpful comments to work with, and Mom is coming out the first week of December to help with the kids so that I can really focus. Hope to have the first half done by Christmas. Don Maass (agency head) has cautioned me to not rush it–second books can make or break careers. It was nice to be given “permission” to take as much time as I need. I’d been worrying that I was lazy.


I’ll be forty before the end of the year. And where will I spend that special day? Researching a fictional murder site, of course. One of my characters kills another in lovely Bristol, where Gavin spent his teenage years in boarding school. Poor man–all our getaways turn into research trips!


09/18/2009 12:04 PM

Well, this made me laugh:

Last night I was sent the draft of my flap copy, for my comments. “Flap copy” is the short plot description you see on the backs of paperbacks and the inside flaps of hardcovers. Obviously, the publisher wants to make their books look good, so marketing hyperbole is out in full force.
I know there is self-interest involved, and that these are not neutral compliments, as they would be from a reviewer or peer endorsement. Still–gosh! This is what Random House (well, my editor) is saying about me!

“Emily Winslow’s stunning debut novel heralds a writer readers will relish discovering–a master stylist with an impeccable sense of how past traumas can echo deep into a person’s future…. At once a sensual and irresistible mystery and a dark meditation on the damage we all bear, The Whole World marks the beginning of a brilliant literary career for this superb, limitlessly gifted author.”

Yowza. I was actually tempted to tone it down.


09/14/2009 04:43 PM

Latest news about THE WHOLE WORLD:


The Debutante Ball is a group blog in its fourth year. Each year, five debut authors blog weekly about the milestones of that experience. I’ve been selected for the new year, and started this week. I’m “Monday.” Please check it out. And comment! I love comments πŸ™‚


I’ve split myself into two Facebook profiles: my personal one under my married name, and my author one (“Emily Winslow”). If you haven’t friended me yet, please do so!


My supposed launch date is set as May 11 2010, though I’ve been warned that’s subject to minor change.


I recently discovered I’m being published under the imprint “Delacorte Press.” Delacorte is a subset of Bantam Dell, which is a subset of Random House. The differences between imprints have become watered-down in recent years, but Delacorte has a reputation for more “literary” books. I’m very happy.


I’ve seen the interior design for the book (which includes font choice and layout and where page numbers go, that sort of thing). THE WHOLE WORLD has five sections and an epilogue, each of which is getting a lovely full page illustration of a different Cambridge gate at its start. Gorgeous!


I can’t show you the cover yet, because there are still a few tweaks to go, but I’m very happy with it.

Covers have a big job to do: they have to be appealing (of course), readable from a distance, and communicate the genre at a glance. The main image on mine is a bicycle, which is appropriate to Cambridge and to my plot. The tone is all bluey and shadowy and mysterious, advertising it as appealing to those who enjoy mystery/suspense.

The cover artist was responsive when I said that the sidewalk looked too new and fresh–she roughed it up for me. My agent noticed that the bicycle’s front wheel was weird, and hopefully that will be fixed.


What have I been up to? The COPYEDIT. That was intense.

The copyeditor takes a colored pencil to a printout of the manuscript, and gets nitpicky all over it. I then have to accept or reject each suggested correction, like him by hand. There’s a whole weird alphabet of symbols to learn, and the magic word “STET”, which means “keep it the way it was.” I wrote that in the margins a lot!

Also, it’s my last chance to make any changes of my own at all, and even then only small ones are allowed. The basic number of pages needs to stay more or less the same. I caught two small continuity errors–phew!

I always knew this would be a tough one to copyedit, because of the narrators. With first-person narration, you don’t always keep to exact formal grammar. And two of my narrators are American, and three British. All along I’ve made very careful decisions about where the Americans have picked up British words/usages and vice versa. The choices are subtle and individual. My editor (editor-editor, not the copyeditor) went over the copyedit carefully before FedEx got it to me, and phoned me to tell me to STET all over the place. This isn’t any disrespect to the copyeditor. It’s his job to notice every single place I’ve made a technically incorrect or inconsistent choice, and then I decide whether I really, really meant it. Most of the time I did, but it’s a valuable stage to go through.

Well how about that!

Hey Maplewood friends–remember Loren Noveck? Well she works at Random House now, and is the Production Editor for THE WHOLE WORLD! She will see it through from manuscript into book.

Next Steps

After this come “galleys” then “ARCs”. Galleys are the pages all laid out just the way they will be in the real book. I will have the opportunity to proofread them, but will only be allowed to point out things that need to be “corrected” (for example something in the copyedit that didn’t make it through, or a typo added in the typesetting process) not add any new changes. If I do want to make any content changes at that stage, I will be charged for them!

ARCs are “Advance Reader Copies,” paperback versions of the book with the cover on. They will be given to reviewers, booksellers, and authors we hope will blurb the book.

May isn’t that far away, really. Thanks for enjoying the ride with me!


04/27/2009 12:12 PM

Line edits: Ack!

Line edits are much easier than developmental edits, because they don’t require massive rethinkings, new scenes, and tracking down domino effects. But they do require dwelling on very small changes, which is headache-inducing. The more minor a change is, the more I go into a spiral: Why does he think this change is necessary? What was wrong with the original way? How is this way actually different? Why is the word “push” more desirable than “shove” here? What is the difference having this line at the beginning of the paragraph versus the end? And then my head explodes, since there are many hundreds of these small notes and all my decisions are due by Friday. Ack, ack, ack!

Also, I use Open Office on a Mac. Open Office is generally wonderful, but its “track changes” feature isn’t working right for me. This may be a general fault, or it may be because the changes were introduced by my editor in Word. I can see his changes and make my own, but the way the program jumps between changes is maddening. Whenever I accept or reject one of his changes, the program immediately jumps ahead, while I want to look at the change I just made. And the jump? Not to the next change on the list, but to some random future change. So every time I accept/reject, I have to scroll back up to find where I just was so I can look at the darned thing (and sometimes add or alter stuff). Then, when I am ready to move on, I have to scroll back up the track changes list to find what change is actually the next one. This is especially ridiculous when so many edits are pairs (it takes one delete and one add to change one word, for example). I accept the delete and then I’ve suddenly skipped past the related add to some random place. It’s a lot of extra work to control this, and scrolling is not so easy in long documents, since the scrollbar is so cramped.

I am taking a break from the madness to compose this email πŸ™‚

Launch Date

I have a launch date! January 26th, 2010. Not quite set in stone yet, but that’s what they’re thinking.

Pub dates are interesting. Most books are bought in the fall, so most established authors bring out their new books in the fall. Because of the competition, that period is not so good for debut authors. Summer is next best for sales, because of the “beach books” phenomenon.
But, coming out in the winter, when fewer books are bought, means that it takes fewer sales to stand out. So that can be an advantageous time, in terms of lists and rankings. Also, less heavy competition for reviews.

In other words: pros and cons to every season. Look on the bright side and hope for the best.

New Epilogue

My editor asked me to rewrite the epilogue in third person. Originally, it was narrated by a minor character, and he felt (rightly, it turns out) that this character didn’t have enough established entanglement with all the main characters to justify the serious interactions he was having with some of them. By using third person, I was free to keep this minor character where he made sense, and also free to allow the main characters to interact among themselves.
Done. Epilogue: improved! Yay editors πŸ™‚

House Article

I’m a little late announcing this: The article about our house is up on the NY Times “Great Homes” website. When I’ve provided a direct link to people in email, many of them have come up against the Times requirement that they be registered (which is free, easy and trustworthy, if you want to do it). But, when I google, I often get to the article registration-free. I don’t understand it, but give it a try. Google:
“emily winslow” cambridge times
or some other sensible combination, and you should find it easily.

The point of allowing this article was the hope that the author will do a similar article, with more focus on the book, around the time of the launch.

New Publicity Pic

The Times photographer, Jonathan Player, took a *beautiful* pic of me. (He has also photographed John le Carre and J.K. Rowling!)

You can see it at…
My New Website

The site is still incomplete, since I’m waiting on cover art and whatnot. But I did want to post an upgrade, since some of the pointers to the house article were linking to it.
If the site looks weird or doesn’t function properly for you, please let me know (and what system and browser you use).

I’ve been given permission to put my first-page text back up, so those of you who haven’t read it can find it there.

For any of you looking for my trailer, it’s down for now. I’ve made a slightly upgraded version that is waiting to incorporate cover art. I’ll let you know when I put it back up.

Back to work…

Have I said this yet? Line edits: ACK!


04/27/2009 02:57 PM

More line edit whinging

Another weirdness of line editing is that “accepting” and “rejecting” mean agreeing or not agreeing with the change proposed by the other user, whether that change is a deletion or an insertion. So, if he deleted something that I wish to keep, I keep it by “rejecting” his change. Or I can agree that something should be deleted by “accepting” the deletion. It’s very weird hitting “accept” to delete and “reject” to retain something.

And, “undo” on Open Office drives me nuts. If I replace an old sentence with a new one, and then want to undo it to see my old sentence again, I actually have to undo each word individually. (Does Word do this? Many, many things about Word are horrible, but I don’t remember this problem.) Not only is this a time suck, it also uses up my undo history, limiting how far back I can go. Well, with track changes on it’s even worse: an undo goes LETTER BY LETTER. Yes, I have to undo each LETTER of any addition individually if I want to go back. What the heck???

About the house

By the way, don’t think our house looks like that all the time. Yes, the architecture is by definition magnificent, and that always shines through. But the neatness? Not so much. To achieve that uncluttered look, my mom came to stay, took over the kids, and we all moved into guest rooms. I barred the family from the main part of the house for four days, which is what it took to tidy it. Not counting the weeks of purging and organizing I’d already done beforehand. Our hope is that these photos will be sufficient for any future articles, as I never want to go through that again! (Though it would be nice to get a better exterior photo. The day they took the pix was a week after that recent, historic snowstorm, so the skies were gray, the grass was covered with patchy, dirty, melting snowhumps, and our many snowmen were listing.)

And the pic of me

Thanks to those who complimented it. It inimidates me a little, since it’s prettier than I look in person! It’s not been manipulated or anything–just well-lit and an exceptionally good angle. But I am, under normal circumstances, more frumpy and frazzled. I hope it looks enough like *me*!

…aaaaaaaand some more line edit commentary:

I find that there are three kinds of edits: edits I agree with, edits I find neutral, and edits I disagree with. I tend to give in to the neutral ones, to justify how often I feel free to disagree πŸ™‚


Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2009 21:29:33 +0000
Subject: The Whole World 7

Here is the latest news about the progress of The Whole World through
publication. (As always, let me know if you’d like to be removed from
the list…)

The manuscript for The Whole World is entering a new stage, and I’m
simultaneously reworking the outline for book 2. Lots of stresses are
behind me, and I feel great!

Last Content Edit

I was given my last editorial letter (the third) just before Christmas.
It was my goal to finish that round on the manuscript before Gavin’s
fortieth birthday at the end of January, so we could relax on our family
weekend in Paris. I did it! (With the help of three or four “all
nighters” which I am way too old for πŸ˜‰ I sent the revised manuscript
to my agent for review first, and she adored it, so I was really happy
sending it on to my editor.

NY Times

The next big push was that the New York Times “Great Homes” website
asked to take pictures of our house (as part of an “Americans in
England” series) and offered to mention the book. I wanted to say yes
for the book’s sake; the writer said that she’ll later shop a magazine
article about the house to coincide with the book’s launch in 2010. But
that meant an intense amount of tidying/cleaning/hiding-of-clutter
needed to take place. Hooray for Mom! She flew here two weeks ago, and
played with the kids while I got everything ready. I moved all of us
into guest rooms, and made the central part of the house off-limits for
four days. The photo shoot went just great. I’ll let you all know when
the article is online.

Valentine’s Weekend

Mom was still here, so I got to get even more stuff done. I attended an
all-day class on the ceremonies of Cambridge University, held at the
nearby manor house Madingley Hall. There were lots of tea breaks and
very nice people, but the lectures themselves focused on college
coats-of-arms and the minute differences between academic robes
depending on college and degree level. It was as boring as it sounds.
But I did a lot of work on book 2’s outline while the information droned
around me.

Then Gavin picked me up and we went to a Thai cooking class held at
another manor house and then to a B&B for the night. Our romance
continued the next day, as we drove all over the fens looking for where
book 2’s body should be dumped πŸ˜‰ We had to take county lines, water
flows and the timing of fen floods into account, and that was really,
really fun.


Tonight, I heard back from my editor and he’s ready to move on to line
edits. Hooray! That means I’m pretty much done with big changes and new
scenes. Now it’s all nitty-gritty about how to express what’s already
there, though not over things quite so small as the copy edit will
cover. As always, I cringe when he refers the current state of the
manuscript as the “latest draft.” I think that, editorially, anything
other than what goes to print is considered an incomplete “draft,” but
to a writer that word has the connotation of something that’s still a
mess in need of serious overhaul. I shudder when he says that! Anyway,
I’ll get a colorfully marked up manuscript back from him next month, and
will have the chance to accept, decline or otherwise respond to his
various suggested changes. In the meantime, I hope to get the new
version of book 2’s outline finished and to my agent.

A year ago, I’d hoped that book 2 itself would be finished by now! But
the comments from my agent and acquiring editor about its original
outline (which I handed in last year), and the experience of editing
book 1, have matured my view on the story. I’m happy to be where I am. I
think my new insights into these recurring characters and into the
story-creation process itself are shaping the story into a better one
than it would have been if I’d been writing it even six months ago.
First novels often come much from a writer’s instincts, and it can be
hard to figure out what made it “good.” I think I’m getting a better
handle on that, and that helps me decide how to approach book 2.

PS–Apologies that my website is not really up to much at the moment.
Until the edits are final, I can’t provide any content, even the trailer
(which contains book text). And there’s little sense in fussing over it
aesthetically until I get cover art to play off of. Some things–like
the trailer–are still *there*, just not linked from the front page.
I’ll let you know when I update the site.


Date: Mon, 05 Jan 2009 08:34:17 +0000
Subject: The Whole World 6

Well, I’m the midst of my last “developmental” revision (meaning, the
last one where I write new scenes). After that will come a “line edit”
from my official editor (Randall), then a “copy edit” from, well, a copy
editor. “Copy edits” are the really picky ones, the ones that will catch
typos, grammar and spelling errors, but there should be very, very few
of those. No, the main point of a copy edit is much more nitpicky:
consistent and correct usage for acronyms and dates and stuff, and
things like “you used this word twice in one page; did you mean to or
would you like to consider an alternative?” Copy editors have special
brains to do such painstaking work!

Only after edits are complete and “accepted” does a book get a date for
launch, so disregard “Summer 2009”! It will probably be spring 2010, or
thereabouts. (Fall 2009 would be very bad for a launch, since so many
“big” books come out in autumn. Winter 2010 is a possibility, but winter
can be pretty dead for books. We’ll see what happens. (I haven’t changed
the date on my website because I’m waiting for a new date to change it to.)

In November, I got to have lunch at Random House in New York which was
so much FUN! The entrance is enormous and flanked by hundreds of
original editions of Random House books from the past century. (I’m told
that the original, intense lighting scheme accidentally made the books
smolder and had to be replaced, heh.) I had to get a special security
tag to get in. I met with Randall (my editor) and Kate (my acquiring
editor) in a private dining room with just one table. We had a dedicated
waiter who intimidated me into giving up my food before I was done–I
just couldn’t say no whenever he came by to see how I was doing! Never
mind; half a Caesar salad and half an entree and half a warm brownie are
all just fine with me πŸ™‚

It was very nice meeting Randall. We got along really well, and I found
out that he too studied theater at college! *Bonding moment.* (Actually,
he and Kate were both very pleased when they found out about my actor
training–actors know how to take direction and interpret it and give it
back richer, which is exactly what a writer in revision needs to do.)

Speaking of revision: On the train home from NYC I read the terrific
book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. It explores the reasons why some
people succeed brilliantly and others with comparable intelligence and
talents don’t. One of the chapters is about authority and relationships
between pilots and co-pilots. Flying is much safer when the co-pilot is
ready to speak up against the pilot and even forcibly take over if
necessary. Subservient co-pilots are actually a terrible danger, as some
frightening crash transcripts attest (co-pilots who recognize that the
plane is going to crash but don’t insist on life-saving maneuvers
because they’re unwilling to contradict the pilot or “bother” air
traffic control!!). Whether you think of the editor or the author as the
pilot here, the point is that there needs to be mutual respect and a
willingness on both sides to speak up to one another in the editing
process. Randall has marked up my manuscript with lots of suggestions,
and I’m heeding most of them, but not all. Nor would he want me to
blindly follow all his “instructions”; in fact, thinking of them as
“instructions” would be a mistake. They’re ideas, suggestions,
sparks–and he’s hoping to get something back that’s much more
interesting than what he gave me.

Having gone through building our house is a reassuring precedent here.
We had lots of influence on the design, but in the end it is still very
much the house that Matthew first drew in March 2002. I have no fear
that my book is any less mine for going through some challenging edits.

Publishing news: You may have heard that lots of the big publishing
houses have had massive layoffs. Random House has had a major
restructuring, combining divisions. My division, Bantam Dell, is now an
imprint within the “Little Random” division (the division is actually
called “Random House” officially, but it’s referred to as “Little
Random” to distinguish it from Random House, the parent company). So far
this has little impact on me. Randall and Kate kept their jobs. I’m just
darned lucky that this book sold before this all happened–publishers
are being more cautious now about what books they invest in.

Lastly, I had my official “author photo” shoot. It’s in my contract that
I provide a photo of myself for promotional use, and how I obtain one is
up to me. I hired a terrific local photographer, Helen Bartlett, and
obtained permission to shoot at Magdalene College, which was a real
treat. The colleges are pretty protective of people making money off
images of their architecture, so getting permission was a real
cross-your-fingers situation. (Peterhouse college wouldn’t even
acknowledge my letter!)

I won’t be updating my website until have cover art, etc., so I don’t
have a proper “page” for the photos yet. But you can see them by
clicking these links:

Magdalene’s Assistant Bursar, College Marshall and Deputy have all been
generous about showing me around. I needed to see undergraduate rooms,
and Christmas is a great time to do that since the rooms are empty. I
also tried to see rooms at Peterhouse, but, as I said, the Bursar didn’t
even acknowledge my request. In the end I just sat on the wall in front
of St. Peter’s Terrace, waited for a resident to walk by, and begged her
to show me her room. She had two strapping guys with her, so had nothing
to fear by giving in to the request of a desperate author. It was
especially kind of her to do this considering she’d just flown in and
had half a dozen suitcases with her! (Hilarious side note: when we got
upstairs, she discovered that her bed was *gone*. I must use that in a
book someday!)

Back to work…

Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2008 09:31:32 +0000
Subject: The Whole World 5

Hi all–You haven’t heard from me about my book for a while, because
I’ve been EDITING. Ugh! This is tricky, intense work. The original stuff
as it flowed out naturally had a seamlessness, even if it lacked some
elements or emphases. Now adding in those missing elements/emphases
requires stitching everything back together as if it were always there.
Much concentration required.

I’ve gotten a *new editor*. This was a bit of drama that has all worked
out for the best. Kate Miciak, my “acquiring editor” (she is the one who
bought the manuscript) wanted to personally edit it. Unfortunately, her
position and reputation make her the go-to for a lot of Bantam’s big
books, and a lot of her labors of love got crowded out. She held onto
“The Whole World” until the last possible moment, but at last
relinquished it to a young editor she’s mentoring, Randall Klein.

Randall is an up-and-comer with lots of energy and insight. She believes
him to be at the start of a very hot career. From his interactions with
me, I would say she’s right! His editorial comments have been fantastic.

So he’s a terrific editor, artistically–but what about in-house clout?
Books within each publisher compete for marketing and publicity efforts.
I was lucky to be one of Kate’s authors, because she has such a
legendary reputation. Kate insists, however, that transferring to
Randall is actually an advantage there too. She has many, many books to
push each season. With Randall, I’ll be one of a select few that he’s
pushing. And, she’ll continue to have my back as well. So now “The Whole
World” is Randall-AND-Kate’s baby. This is good all around.

This is all a bit like my agent relationship. Cameron, my agent, is
newish within a venerable agency, mentored by Donald Maass, a legend.
Randall is new to editing, an apprentice to legend Kate Miciak. It
really is a dream situation. I’m a big priority to Cameron and Randall,
but we have the background support of industry biggies.

Some people have asked me if the *editing process* feels invasive.
Everyone has heard horror stories of artistic writers being forced by
crass editors to add gratuitous sex or violence or stereotypes to their
masterpieces. But editing is like a big kitchen knife–sure you could
use it to stab someone in the heart, but most of the time it is
correctly used to prepare delicious meals πŸ™‚ (Okay, that metaphor was
kind of weird. I’m saving the brilliant metaphors for the book! ;-D

A writer is not capable of having a reader’s perspective. We know too
much. An editor gives that perspective, and has the experience/insight
to comment constructively about it. Editors are wonderful!!!

For a “content” or “substantive” edit like I’m working on now, the
editor writes an “editorial letter.” It’s basically of description of
problems (couched within lots of encouragement and flattery so that the
writer doesn’t lose heart πŸ˜‰ It may contain some potential answers as
well, but they are only suggestions. The writer’s job is to interpret
the problems and solve them in their own creative way.

Randall is really pushing me to a higher level. I’m impressed and
excited and *exhausted*.

Because of Kate holding out so long to keep my book to herself, my
editorial letter (from Randall) didn’t come until quite late in the
process. The *timing* is all skewed now. My edits were originally due
October 1. Randall assures me that deadline is not an issue at this
point–the quality of the book is most important. So I have the freedom
to carry on in this back-and-forth with him at whatever pace is
necessary. This could possibly result in the launch, which was
originally planned for next summer, being pushed. We’ll see. I have no
doubt that whenever the launch is eventually set for, Randall will be
championing the book with gusto.

Hey, what does an *agent* do while all this is going on? My wonderful
agent does LOTS. First, Cameron fielded all the hard questions about the
Kate-to-Randall transition before I even found out about it. She made
sure that I wasn’t being brushed off. Second, she reviews my revisions
before I give them to Randall. It’s really helpful, when I’m trying new
things, to have her perspective. I did pull back from some big changes
at her excellent advice, and I feel very lucky that I had her to save me
from myself in that situation. Third, she is my sounding board for any
rants or concerns. Much better to rant to her than to anyone at Bantam
Dell! In response to my concerns, she can either simply absorb and
commiserate, or, if warranted, intervene. (It has not been warranted.
Bantam has been *wonderful*. But she’s there for that if I need her.)

So that’s what up with “The Whole World.” I’m also working on my
*outline* for book 2. (Didn’t I want book 2 finished by Christmas? Ha
ha!) I’ve gotten some comments on my outline from Kate and Cameron that
match EXACTLY so I know I need to listen. They caught two elements that
are very similar to aspects of book 1, things that were just
subconscious to me. Now that they’ve pointed them out, I see that they
obviously need to be adjusted. (Kate says that it’s fine to have a
recurring authorial motif, but not in the first two books!) Much better
to fix this at the outline stage than in revisions of a finished book.

PS–*Fun fact*! Did you Americans know that the British don’t say
“gotten”? They only ever say “got.” So, where we would say, “I haven’t
gotten to that yet” they say “I haven’t got to that yet.” It’s very
strange to my ear. When I wrote the original version of The Whole World,
I paid close attention to the spelling differences my US and UK
narrators would use, and their word choices. I was REALLY intense about
it. Now, with revisions, it’s much harder to pay attention to US/UK
stylistic differences. I jump around from narrator to narrator,
attacking small sections. Things like “got” vs. “gotten” are easy to
lose, and I’m working very hard to not slip up…

Hope you enjoyed this news! You should only be receiving this if you’ve
asked to, so please let me know if I’ve sent this to you in error.

From “Envoy” by Billy Collins, a message to his just-published book:

"stay out as late as you like,
don't bother to call or write,
and talk to as many strangers as you can."