i swear to you, there are no big words in this book

Today I come bearing gifts: an excerpt of Shadow Queen!

Thanks to Allen & Unwin, if you want to try before you buy, without all the inconvenience of trudging into a brick and mortar store, now you can read the first chapter online, or download it for reading later. (Those of you who download will get the extra special glimpse of the book's layout and font-design, since the PDF is a true representation of the finished book.)

As a bonus fun-fact, consider when reading that this first chapter is in fact one-fifth of what in my head I still call the first chapter. Yes, when I say the chapters in the original manuscript were LONG, I'm not exaggerating.

For those of you who've already read the book, I give you instead the feedback from friends and family who have actually finished reading it:

P, on starting the book: "I think she went a little too hard too early on the big words — I don't think she'll be able to keep it up."

P, on finishing the book: "Er, I take that back. She did keep it up."

N: "Oh my God, I'm going to need a dictionary to read this thing!"1

B:2 "Tricksy. Very tricksy."

S: "Is this the sort of stuff you were thinking about while you were at work? Because the majority of what I think about is what to cook for dinner, and there you were all this time, pondering the ways to kill people? I think I'm a little bit scared now."

And, the overwhelming response from pretty much everyone: "What the…? Cliffhanger! I have to wait HOW LONG for the next part? AGH!"

So, people, consider yourselves warned.

  1. Honestly, I thought I took all the really hard and obscure big words out. Honestly! But, er, apparently not. []
  2. Somewhat paraphrased []

10 thoughts on “i swear to you, there are no big words in this book

  1. Hee, do you know, I have a secret love for the ferret metaphors. There would have been more, if only I had not been so stern on myself and forced Matilde to think about more than just ferrets all the time. Come to think of it, I think that's when she started thinking about food and cooking.

  2. Ha, yes, indeed it is a euphemism for illegitimacy, and indeed I am the only one to use it. The phrase is usually "the wrong side of the sheets", but that didn't seem brutal or visceral enough to set the tone I wanted. And you gotta trust your readers to work stuff out from context, I think.

  3. I decided that was probably it. I was left wondering if it meant something darker though – a child born of rape, or some bizarre loss-of-virginity rite that would be clarified later. It was only because it wasn't clarified by the end that I decided it must have just meant she was a bit of an unmarried strumpet.

  4. Careful – you know I don't write with outlines. You'll only go and give me ideas for the second book! (And if you make me change the second book now, I WILL KEEEEL YOU!) 😉

  5. Ah… you shouldn't have put that threat in writing:

    When the police find me on the bloody side of the sheets, you're the first person they'll look for… 😉

    (cue groans)

  6. I just finished reading Shadow Queen and had to see if you had a website online so I can keep track of when the second book will be out. Definately a fan of your work and I am always looking for a new author to pick up.

    I read the entire book in one day, it just had that compelling quality to it that kept me turning the pages. After I finished, my first words to my husband were, "I haven't read a good fantasy like that in a while."

  7. @Jan: after that pun, the police will forgive me!

    @jarasing: welcome to the blog! I am so glad you enjoyed the book, and thank you for stopping by to tell me. Positive feedback like that will make me glow all day long. The sequel will be delivered to the publisher later this month, and at this stage publication date is set for January 2010 – so a bit of a wait, I'm afraid. But stick around, I also have some short stories coming out this year, and the blog's the best place to hear about those 🙂

  8. I think some of the "big words" were not so much big but not used in the everyday persons vernacular. 🙂

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