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Orphan Sisters is out NOW!

…in all formats: ebook, hardback AND paperback! If you’re in the UK you can buy a copy at Tesco and Asda as well as Amazon and anywhere books are sold!

Last night I had a wonderful book launch at West End Lane Books in Hampstead. A wonderful gathering of family, friends and colleagues! I can’t download any more pictures at the moment because of a technical hitch, so please be patient!

About Orphan Sisters

Their Nigerian parents have emigrated to England in search of a better life for their family. Nineteen Fifties London is a great adventure to the girls but not always welcoming. There are signs in windows of lodging houses warning: ‘no blacks, no dogs, no Irish’.

When tragedy strikes and the girls lose their father, their mother is unable to cope. When she fails to recover from the surprise birth of another child all three girls are sent to an orphanage. Lana is determined to keep her sisters together but when baby Tina gets adopted, she must admit their family is about to be torn apart – perhaps for ever…

 

What other writers are saying about Orphan Sisters…

“ORPHAN SISTERS by Lola Jaye The story of Lana, May and Tina, three sisters who find themselves alone in 1950s London after losing their parents is as remarkable as it is touching. Lola’s ability to evoke the era and create characters who you are rooting for from the word go, takes a real talent. Orphan Sisters is a brilliant saga novel in the mould of some of the classics” (DOROTHY KOOMSON)

“I highly recommend this moving, gripping story about a Nigerian family who start a new life in England, only to find themselves cruelly torn apart.” (KITTY NEALE)

“ORPHAN SISTERS is wonderful, affecting and refreshing, with characters and a story-line that weave together flawlessly. An important slice of social history that I recommend without hesitation.” (ALEXANDRA BROWN)

Lola

But We Were On A Break!

How do I reacquaint myself with characters in a book I wrote well over two years ago.

 

It all started when I flew off to Atlanta with two suitcases and a dream.
A dream to start and finish a novel, sell it and perhaps enjoy the southern sunshine and some chicken and waffles along the way. After MUCH procrastination and eating, I finally wrote the book and entitled it; ‘In Search Of Her Sisters.’ Most of my early titles only serve as a working title, so I didn’t get attached to the name, but did feel I was onto something with the story of these three orphans; daughters of Nigerian immigrants….

When after a few months my agent hadn’t sold it, I was advised by said trusty agent to ‘get on with the new one.’
Sighing like a 12 year old fed up with everything, all I could say was; ‘What?’  All I could think was; ‘I’ve put my blood sweat and tears into this one, I’m living thousands of miles away from home, so… no, I CAN’T GET ON WITH THE NEW ONE! What about this one? I like this one!’
‘Get on with the new one,’ was my agent’s terse response as she ignored my childlike petulance. 

Part of the reason we get on (apart from her being a brilliant and loyal agent) is that she takes no nonsense from me and is rather straightforward. Plus, she knows when to repeat a sentence.   
‘Get on with the new one,’ she said. Again.
After some metaphorical kicking and screaming, I did. Eventually. And I actually liked what I wrote and it allowed the sorrow of yet another unsold novel to sort of disappear. That’s the thing about being an author- you kind of have to get used to rejections. So many people think it ends the day you get published.                                   

Anyway, fast-forward two years and a couple of novels later and boom! She sells In Search of Her Sisters- to a major publishing house! So I head along to a meeting with said publishers and I lose the ability to make any sense the minute my soon to be editor says; ‘I have always liked your work.’
Thoughts: My work? Why would this powerful industry player be liking my work? What am I- an author? Oh yeah, I have written and published 4 books during my brief history as a writer. Duh! What’s wrong with my brain?’ Perhaps I’m a little star struck  sitting inside the offices of a publishing house. Yes. No, this was something more terrifying as in; I WAS TRYING TO REMEMBER THE BOOK. You know, the one she was talking about. The one I had written well over 2 years ago!
And then the moment became truly insane when she said; ‘So what do you think about character x doing situation x?‘
Thoughts: ‘Say what?’
I couldn’t even remember character X’s name let alone anything else. It had been two long years and 2.5 novels ago! I’d moved on. I was no longer the same girl, even my taste in shoes had changed. So all I could do was ‘umm’ and ‘ahh’ appropriately, hoping she wouldn’t make out the fraud in front of her. She probably would have if I hadn’t been honest. ‘I haven’t read the manuscript in two years… I may need a little time to reacquaint myself with the characters,’ I said in a posh accent that had also suddenly materialised. Of course she understood! And, phew! I knew it was better to avoid looking like an idiot in front of a very nice future editor. And after that moment of honesty, a relationship was sealed!

When I began the rewrite, I got to know my characters all over again! And what a lovely experience it was. Going through a manuscript after such a long break was like opening up a new book. I would gasp at the little twists I had inserted, having forgotten all about them and make comments like; ‘This is quite good, this!’
After a two year break, I was still in love with my book!!
So the moral to this story is; the characters in your book never really leave you, they are always there (and luckily, I still liked mine!)

So, let me introduce you to my OLD friends from my NEW book; Their names are Lana, May and Tina… the three characters of my soon to be published paperback novel, In Search Of Her Sisters… err no, sorry about that, it has a new title now: Orphan Sisters!
That’s right, Orphan Sisters (and for those of you who can’t wait for the paperback in a few weeks… you can download the e-book!)

Out NOW on E-book.  The paperback is out September 21st.

How I Wrote a Novel in 12 Weeks

 

It’s been a while since I updated my blog, even though I promised to do it monthly.

BUT I have an excuse!

Within twelve weeks, I started and finished book SIX!!! (well, a rubbishy first draft that will almost disappear once I go over it with my red pen) But one hundred thousand words in three months nevertheless and a record for me! Plus, I even got showered and dressed, cooked a bit and managed to see friends! Yaay!

If you opened this blog to find out how to do it, here’s how I managed it…

  • Turned off all known devices like the pink smartphone aka the Pink Queen of Procrastination.
  • Switched off Netflix, the satellite box and all other known devices that can beam 6 hundred boxsets into my working space.
  • Stared at my computer.
  • Prayed.
  • Stared at my computer some more.                           
  • Wrote.
  • Took a break.
  • And I wrote again until I had achieved the word count of 2K that I had set myself (Unless I had a really good excuse like the solar eclipse or something, I would usually achieve the number). And of course, I had days off to do other things.

Don’t worry if 2k seems a bit steep (some of us writers also have kids, dogs, demanding jobs- life stuff to deal with) just pick a number that works for you… but stick to it. As in, try not to fall below it but do of course, allow yourself to go over it.

Consistency is key.

It feels so rewarding at the end of the day to realise that you actually did what you set out to do!
I knew I could handle 2,000 words a day because the words were just flowing out of me. In my brief history of book writing, it doesn’t always happen that way; only when there’s a bunch of characters BEGGING me to tell their story (an epic tale I will get to share with you in 2018!) My current novel Orphan Sisters  took a bit longer to write, but I had written that book during a different time and set of circumstances. In fact, I will address that in the next blog…

 

 

Orphan Sisters is out TODAY! I’m serious. IT IS!!

My first published novel in FIVE years, Orphan Sisters is out on pre- release TODAY!

I mean the official release date of the mass market paperback is still 21st  September 2017 but today the e-book is available to download! Yipeeeeeeee!

It’s actually out there and I don’t think I can believe it!

It’s been a long and emotional five years.

I lost three members of my immediate family, left a job I had worked at for 12 years, moved countries and through it all, I carried on writing. One of the manuscripts I wrote during the first part of this hiatus was indeed Orphan Sisters. My agent at first did not find a home for it so I simply carried on writing. And writing. And writing. A few manuscripts later, Orphan Sisters was sold to Ebury at Penguin/ Random House, proving that as a writer anything can happen! So Orphan Sisters will finally get ‘her’ moment to shine whilst the other manuscripts wait in the wings (or in the external hard drive of my computer). Some of them will also one day (soon) get their time to shine, some never will. That’s the nature of publishing. It’s a tough business but I love it! 

Five years is a long time.

But through it all, I never gave up. I KNEW I’d be published again one day. I knew this was the path leading to the purpose God has set out for me. So I persevered and here I am. A new novel! 

Champagne and book launches will be on hold until September, but for now, I will celebrate this milestone with a Coca Cola toast and a prayer of thanks.

 

 

Order the pre release today!

 

 

If you take the ‘subtle as a sledge hammer ‘ hint and go off and download my book,  please leave a review. I’d really like to know what people think of my 5th book. Seriously, I would.

Wow, I still can’t believe ‘she’s’ out there!!!!!!!!

 

 

What’s a Hybrid Author?

So, what’s a Hybrid Author anyway? It sounds like something developed in a lab by some fiction obsessed scientist, but simply put; this refers to an author who is both traditionally published as well as e-published. And that’s it. In a nutshell. Not exactly rocket science, is it?

So why am I blogging about this, when I’m a traditionally published author? Well, first I’m going to let you into a little secret. About four years ago I wrote a dystopian novel for young Adults. Since then, I’ve re- written it and even let a couple of folks in the industry take a look at it. And what started off as a ‘can I write a dystopian book?’ soon turned into ‘I must get this book published one day!’

This book is such a labour of love for me and quite far removed from my usual work- which as you know, is currently commercial and historical fiction.  Therefore this book would have to be released under a pseudonym (don’t worry I’ll let you know it’s me) if and when, no, WHEN it is published one day in the future.

Basically, I am determined to see this book in print and would see self-publishing as an option. This isn’t because I don’t have confidence in a mainstream publisher picking it up… okay there may be some reservations from time to time… No, No. I am confident!!! Okay, internal fight over, here’s the thing: knowing I could one day self publish this weird and wonderful book is a back up plan that I am glad exists. It’s always better to have choices, right?

So as a published author, you now have the choice to either send the completed manuscript to your agent with the hope that s/he will sell it for a good or great advance or you can think about self-publishing as an e-book and/or a print-on-demand.  These options do not erase the possibility that a traditional publisher might at a later date, buy and publish the book through the conventional publishing house route- you just never know. Stranger things have happened.

Similarly, you as a self published author are also free to explore the traditional publishing route. There are no set rules.

Hmm, there’s a lot to think about in the publishing arena and it’s always a good idea to read about and speak to other authors who have taken the hybrid route.

As for my dystopian YA novel: the feedback has been very, very good.   And between you and me, I could also see it as a Hollywood blockbuster movie. So, scriptwriters: call me!