A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.
Well, this is a self-serving post if ever there was one, because today my coming-of-age surf novel BLUE is released by Quercus Children’s Books. But Vulpes Libris played a big part in the birth of this book baby of mine, and I thought it only right to acknowledge that. Without Vulpes Libris I don’t think I would have written the book that’s changed my life so much. In fact, I’m sure I wouldn’t have.
A few years ago I was sent a non-fiction book to review called Signs of Life by Natalie Taylor. My review is here. There was something about this book that really affected me and it changed the way I thought about the world. It made me braver. It made me want to try new things. About a year after I read Signs of Life, I wrote another post for Vulpes Libris and this time I said this:
I’ve always been a bit sceptical of people who talk of “life-changing books.” Life-changing? That’s love, isn’t it? Death? Birth? Infidelity? War? Peace? The big stuff, right? But then I found a book that – *whispers* – actually did change my life.
Last week I found myself out with a bunch of lads I know, climbing sheer cliffs, diving into the sea, getting washed through gullies and exploring sea caves (so coasteering, then) and I was having the time of my life. The second before I jumped off a twenty-foot cliff into the sea, the book Signs of Life flashed into my head.
Because that book was a total wake-up call for me. It really got into my head and made me feel my own mortality. This life is not a run-through. This is it. So try to do everything you want, while you can – is what it seemed to say.
I’d had a baby the year before and while I was nursing, I’d hardly been away from my little girl for more than an hour. As wonderful as that experience was, part of me was beginning to crave adventure.
So I decided to take myself off to a surf film premiere with a friend. I had stopped nursing a couple of weeks before, and I was going to have my first alcoholic drink in two years. As it happened, my friend had to cancel at the last minute, so screwing up my courage, I went to the event alone. And there I met the most incredible young woman, who had also come to the event alone.
This young woman would go on to become a dear friend to me and together we had the most amazing beach summer, sort of like a platonic love affair, in which she taught me to surf, took me to yoga classes and – inspired by the eco surf film – we even arranged our own beach clean, things that put me forever in her debt.
Surfing was the start of a lot of other great things, more of which I’ll talk about in another piece for Vulpes Libris. But in short: reading Signs of Life gave me the courage to do many of the things I had always wanted to do with my life, but had put off through fear.
And this is that other piece for Vulpes Libris, the piece in which I talk about how reading Signs of Life and subsequently learning to surf, enabled me to write Blue. I’ve been writing novels for ten years and when I wasn’t writing, I was surfing the internet, to which I was completely addicted. But I never experienced much writing success until I learned how to surf sea waves and then wrote about that experience. In April of last year I was invited to meet several publishers and I had meetings with them in various skyscrapers, town houses and cocktail bars around London. Afterwards, there was a thrilling auction situation and I accepted a three-book deal offered by Quercus Children’s Books. The moment when the Quercus offer came through was one of the most wonderful punch-the-air moments of my life. It would not have happened without Vulpes Libris, because this site put me in front of a book that I would never otherwise have read. And that is the great thing about book blogging: it opens you up to writing that you would never otherwise have discovered. So thank you to Natalie Taylor for writing Signs of Life, to her publisher for sending it to me, to my fellow Bookfoxes for being so wonderfully supportive (as well as excellent beta readers), and our lovely readers, who make blogging such a rewarding endeavour. If this is beginning to sound like an Oscars acceptance speech, I do apologise, but hell, it’s my publication day, I’ve already had a glass of champagne and I love the whole damn world.
Lisa can be found on Twitter @TheSeaSection. Blue is released June 5th 2014 by Quercus Children’s Books. ISBN-13: 978-1848663404. £6.99 paperback and cheaper for the ebook.