Tara Hyland - Daughters of Fortune

21 MARCH 2010

Well, it's been an amazing week. Daughters of Fortune was officially published in the UK last Thursday, on 18 March. So far I've had some great reviews coming through: The Sun said: "Sex, glamour, fashion - perfect!", and Closer described the book as "An exciting read." In the US, while the book isn't out until May 11, there have already been a couple of trade reviews: Publishers Weekly declared Daughters of Fortune is: "sparkling with Gossip Girl sizzle and Barbara Taylor Bradford melodrama," and Booklist said: "Hyland's first novel intricately and effortlessly dramatizes the lives and loves of a rich and glamorous cast of characters." So far, so good! I'm still waiting to read a real stinker - I'm sure that will come eventually, and I'm equally sure that I won't be publicizing it here!


It's strange going through "being published" for the first time, as I obviously had expectations for what "publication day" would be like, which I've built up in my head over the past fifteen months since I got my book deal - and then there's the reality of what actually happens! I had been warned by veteran authors not to expect too much - in fact, one lovely author, who always tops the Sunday Times bestseller list, confessed that she cried on the day her first book was published, and that even now not much happens for her (and she's a really big seller!) 


So, how did it measure up for me? It was good - perhaps no fireworks, but I was determined to celebrate myself and finally getting published, and I did just that! On the eve of publication day, I went out with my husband for champagne at our local Hilton in London Bridge, which has a sophisticated bar and the most lovely couches, with loads of space, so you're not crushed on top of other patrons. Then we went for dinner at Bermondsey Kitchen - again, a great local restaurant, with fabulous wine and food. On publication day itself, the morning was pretty quiet - and then I got the most magnificent bouquet of flowers from my agent! That really made my day. And in the afternoon, I met up with my publicist, Emma, to sign some copies of my book at various branches of Waterstones around London - Notting Hill, Piccadilly, Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden. The Piccadilly branch is absolutely huge, and we went to the 5th Floor bar for some champagne, which was lovely. The signings were all out the back of the shops, and then the books get a sticker saying "signed by the author" - that's supposed to be the best way to do it, because other authors have warned me that you can just sit around feeling a bit stupid if you do a "proper" signing, where you're waiting for people to buy your book (and they don't!). So this struck a good balance - it was nice to do something, without it being too public. I think I need to work on my signature, though: I'm not sure what purchasers will think of my childish scrawl - in fact, I'm worried they'll demand a copy that hasn't been graffitied! 


The best part of the day, though, was getting back to find an email from one of my UK editors, Libby, saying she loved my second book. I've been so worried about it (which she knew, and that's why she went to the trouble of reading the manuscript so quickly, even though she was busy with other stuff - so thank you so much, Libby!) It's really nerve-wracking, handing in Book 2 - which other authors in the same position have confirmed. There's that worry about being a one-hit wonder, and that the second attempt won't measure up to the first. Over the past 10 months (the time it's taken to write the book) I've veered between worrying it's too similar to my first book, and then worrying it's too different. But it seems like I've struck the right balance, and while I'm sure there'll be loads more work to be done before the manuscript goes to print, it's good to know that it wasn't a total disaster!


But back to Daughters of Fortune. My publishers had spotted that Westfield shopping centre, in Shepherd's Bush, was having a fashion event on 18-20 March, and they decided that it would be a good opportunity to promote my book. So they had 4 chapters of my book made up into the cutest little A6 package, with a voucher for 1/2 off my book at WHSmith, which was then included in goody bags being given out to those attending the show. A wonderful idea! My mum and I (who always like an excuse to shop!) went along to the event. Unfortunately the tickets for the fashion show were all sold out, but we managed to watch it from the gallery above. The models were in a huge heels and the catwalk was silver and slippy - which was a recipe for diasater. No less than six models slipped over during the show we watched! One poor girl went over twice, and struggled to get up again. They all kept their cool, though, and it was a fun day. 


So, all in all, I had a fun couple of days, with some great memories - which is what it's all about, isn't it?


Bespoke Websites UK Judith Barrett