Once upon a time, there was a Choc Lit author. That’s right – just the one. Me, Juliet Archer.
It was way back in December 2008 when Choc Lit published my debut novel – and for almost a year I was the only author. Then along came Sue Moorcroft, Christina Courtenay, Christine Stovell, Margaret James, Jane Lovering and Kate Johnson – and, as they say, the rest is history!
Now I’m delighted to announce that Choc Lit are bringing out my second book in September 2011! To continue the pregnancy/childbirth analogy that I used with The Importance of Being Emma, Persuade Me has taken over two years from gestation to delivery. That’s way beyond any comparison with humans and more in the league of elephants and whales. (Which is sort of how I feel now that I’m desk-bound in a London office every day, within far-too-easy reach of the sandwich trolley and vending machine.) Fortunately for Choc Lit, their other authors are nearer the rabbit end of the scale, procreating much more frequently.
This time round, it’s going to be a totally different publishing experience for me. First, Choc Lit itself has gone from strength to strength, with seven authors published so far and more in the pipeline. There’s now a larger team to support us, all professionals in different aspects of publishing. And we even have this fabulous blog (thank you, Christina!) for meeting readers and other writers online.
Next, bookselling. Back in 2009, I did around 30 events in bookshops – mainly Borders, who welcomed unknown authors with open arms. Will that be possible today, with book retailing in the grip of the supermarkets and ebook sales gathering pace? And because the libraries are under threat, other options are reducing – so we’re lucky to have a marketing-driven publisher, always on the lookout for new opportunities.
Finally, when Choc Lit was promoting my first book, the chocolate choice was Thorntons. This was heavily influenced, I seem to remember, by the BBC’s dramatisation of North & South, where John Thornton was brought deliciously to life by a certain Richard Armitage. (In fact, product placement has come several years too late for Thorntons – they could have had a captive audience of drooling Armitage fans for their Dark Classics.)
Now we have Montezuma’s and I’m looking forward to tasting one of their Chilli Truffles. Like Dr Rick Wentworth, the hero of Persuade Me, I’m told it smoulders with fiery passion under a deceptively hard outer shell!
Which Montezuma chocolate is your favourite hero?