Robin Wasserman introduces her first book with Atom, the compulsive Book of Blood and Shadow, which will be published on the 19th January:
Happy New Year! First of all, thank you for taking time out of your thrilling New Year’s Day plans (or your post-New Year’s Eve hangover) to read my ramblings and get a sneak peek at the very-soon-to-be-released-but-not-soon-enough-for-me Book of Blood and Shadow.
If you can believe it (I can’t), this book has been with me for the last three New Year’s Eves. New Year’s 2010, I had just started writing it, and had spent the whole Christmas season feverishly putting together a proposal and the first hundred pages so my agent could sell it to a publisher (or so I hoped). I finally finished that on December 31, and then was physically dragged away from my computer and out of town. Little did my friends know I didn’t need a computer to spend the next 48 hours obsessing over whether my agent would like it. (From my email to him: “Here it is…it could be the best thing I’ve ever written. Or the worst. At this point I literally have no idea. Um…enjoy?”) And then, after he did, I wasted the first third of the year obsessing over whether anyone else would.
And by anyone, I mean an editor.
And by obsessing, I mean, driving myself and everyone around me absolutely and completely insane.
I have a great capacity and stamina for this kind of thing.
But then, finally, wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, the book sold! Which meant I had to write it! Which…threw me into another tailspin of crazy! (As you may have noticed by now, this doesn’t take much.)
After months more of frenzied writing and months more of obsessing, I finally finished and handed my editor The Book of Blood and Shadow, just in time to spend New Year’s 2011 fretting about whether she would like it…not to mention realizing I was going to have to wait another full year before actually seeing it in print.
The wait was maddening, as all waits are, and I still can’t quite believe that I’ve made it through to New Year’s 2012, and now have only four more days to wait until this thing that used to be just a few random ideas scrawled in my tiny dime store notebook becomes a real book, floating around out there in the real world.
This book was a terrifyingly big and terrifyingly new project for me to take on: a globe-trotting crypto-thriller that spanned centuries, a murder mystery, a scavenger hunt, a love story, a brain-teaser, a meditation on choice and belief, and a story about friendship, betrayal, and renewal, all in one. It was:
-my first murder mystery
-my first book set in a foreign country
-my first book requiring months of research and a research trip abroad (to a country where I’d never been, knew no one, and didn’t speak the language)
-my first book with parts set in the past and characters based on historical figures (hence the months of research and the terror about making a mistake)
-my first book written without an outline (which I’ve always seen as jumping off a cliff without a parachute)
It was like nothing I’d ever tried to write before, and I’ll admit, I’m now dying of anticipation to see what the world makes of it. While I wait, I’ll be wandering around the internet on a blog tour, so if you follow my posts this week, you’ll get to hear about the research trip to Prague, the genesis of the idea, the Blood and Shadow playlist, the books I’ve read that shaped its writing, and—since I have a tendency to ramble—plenty more.
If you’re as impatient as I am, though, scroll down to the bottom of this post for an excerpt from the book itself. I promise I’ll try not to spend New Year’s Day 2012 obsessing about whether you like it.
The next stops on Robin's blog tour will be:
Sunday 1st January 2012
Tour launch: Robin introduces the book
Monday 2nd January 2012
Robin discusses the New Year, its blues and resolutions
Tuesday 3rd January 2012
‘So I Say Thank you for the Books’ author feature
Wednesday 4th January 2012
Robin introduces The Book of Blood and Shadow playlist
Thursday 5th January 2012
Author post exploring the strange-but-true historical background of the book
Friday 6th January 2012
Featured on Friday Q&A slot
Saturday 7th January 2012
Bookcase Showcase feature
Sunday 8th January 2012
Author post elaborating Robin’s on the ground research in Prague and how that shaped the story.
The Book of Blood and Shadow
I should probably start with the blood. If it bleeds it leads and all that, right? It’s all anyone ever wants to know about, anyway. What did it look like? What did it feel like? Why was it all over my hands? And the mystery blood, all those unaccounted-for antibodies, those faceless corkscrews of DNA—who left them behind?
But beginning with that night, with the blood, means that Chris will never be anything more than a corpse, bleeding out all over his mother’s travertine marble, Adriane nothing but a dead-eyed head case, rocking and moaning, her clothes soaked in his blood, her face paper white with that slash of red razored into her cheek. If I started there, Max would be nothing but a void. Null space; vacuum and wind.
Maybe that part would be right.
But not the rest of it. Because that wasn’t the beginning, any more than it was the end. It was—note the brilliant deductive reasoning at work here—the middle. The center of gravity around which we all spiraled, but none of us could see. The center cannot hold, Max liked to say, back when things were new and quoting poetry seemed a suitably ironic way to declare our love. Things fall apart.
But things don’t just fall apart. People break them.
The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman will be published by Atom on the 19th January as a paperback original, £6.99; eBook £7