A question I get asked a lot is: “Was the second book easier to write?” The answer is complicated.
Teatime for the Fireflymy first novelslipped out easily into the world. I wrote it in my own sweet time: I never imagined I would get a 3-book deal. That was two years ago. Teatime has gone on to become a favorite of book clubs, garnering rave reviews and I have my readers to thank for that.
With the second novel, not only did I have a publishing deadline but I was plagued with a barrage of self-doubt and fears. The only way I could get past all that and write this book was to pretend nobody would ever read it. It worked!
Braiding the plot and characters together had its usual challenges but the revision process was easier the second time around. I now knew what to expect. I learned a lot when I worked with my first publishing editor on Teatime for the Firefly. I shared my experiences in an article I wrote for the Writers Digest:“Working with a Publishing Editor.”
So here we are: another milestone. Thank you all for your love and support. I could not have done it without you. I can’t wait for you to read FLAME TREE ROAD. Cheers!
“Patel’s remarkable debut effortlessly transports readers back to India on the brink of independence, with intriguing details about the tea industry in Assam while Patel deftly incorporates into the story add yet another layer of richness…enthralling characters, exotic setting, and evocative writing style.”– Booklist, starred review
“Debut author Patel offers a stunning, panoramic view of a virtually unknown time and place—the colonial British tea plantations of Assam—while bringing them to life through a unique character’s perspective.” Kirkus Reviews
“The historical detail makes this debut novel a rich reading experience.” Library Journal
Today Harlequin did a “Cover Reveal” on their Official Facebook Page. Many of you are familiar with the cover of my book Teatime for the Fireflybut they were from the ARC (Advance Readers Copy: the unproofed version). This is the final cover. Yay, yay, yay! The finish and creative detailing of the book is jaw-dropping gorgeous and I am pleased as punch! People I show this book to say “I would buy this book, just because of the cover,” and that makes me really happy! And folks, even if I had not written this book myself, this cover would have called out to me in a bookstore and I would have picked it up in a heartbeat. Seriously.
The art team at Mira Books really captured the essence in the cover of Teatime for the Firefly. We have the bone china English tea-cup alongside the Indian henna patterning and it gives the cover of a cross-cultural feel which is what the story is all about. I have a lovely endorsement from Shilpa Somaya Gowda (NY Bestselling author of The Secret Daughter) that has been exquisitely laid out along the curve of the saucer (so as not to clash with the layered script background). The thoughtfulness and care in putting this book together is the result of a massive team effort at Harlequin/Mira. Writing a book is the simple part: getting the book ready and to market is the bulk of the business. The process is involved, complicated and by and large goes unseen. All the public really sees is the finished book and the writer and not all the munchkins doing the grunt work. It is humbling and I feel lucky to be a part of it all.
There are several events and appearances in the pipeline leading up to the official launch of October 1st. I will be updating the Events tab (above) from time to time. I hope to see you all in person. Connecting with you is the most exciting part. I am always curious to know about you. What do you read? What do you drink? Did I hear you say COFEEE? Eeesh! I will probably try to convince every die-hard coffee drinker to try Assam Tea, failing which, you will still be my friend, simply because you love something so passionately. I admire that over and above my need to win you over.
And thanks for staying with me on this journey – for all your support, kind thoughts, memories and all the funny things you share with me. No, no, no, I am not riding off into the sunset – although I sound like I am, with all the talk of “thanks”, “journey” etc. This is just an important milestone in Teatime for the Firefly and I am happy to share it with you.
So here’s to tea and friendship. And I’ll see you around the corner, soon – yes?