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January newsletter, Panel-beating and publishing
24 January 2012

For December’s Newletter – please click here.

This month has been a fairly frenetic month of polishing (actually more like panel beating) the selling document of the next T.S. Learner venture – DYNASTY (all going well it should be out in Jan 2014 ).  In case you didn’t know nowadays most authors (even literary ones) often have to present a treatment (story of the book – a very detailed outline) to their publishers before final commitment from them. A selling document really, for those who have been following my tweets (Tobsha_Learner) you would know I’ve been wrestling with this one quite a lot. The treatment is really a guarantee that the publisher gets what he/she is paying for and that the author knows where she/he are going. In genre this is vitally important, particularly in thrillers as they are so plot heavy. The challenge for the author is not overwork the treatment to the point that it feels like a road so well travelled you just don’t want to get back on it again! More positively a good treatment with a thoroughly worked out plot provides a solid blueprint upon which you can build a great house – you can relax into developing really three dimensional characters, a visual landscape with a well researched (in my case epic) historical backstory knowing that they are on a great journey and that the reader will be compelled to keep reading. This saves a tremendous time at the other end of the process, the rewrite.

As I’ve mentioned before I do intend to off-set the grimness of the research  for DYNASTY with a series of humorous short stories I hope to post reading on You tube, some bawdy some not. This will be under the banner of my more literary persona Tobsha Learner. I will alert all my readers when they are posted.

THE MAP was also published in the UK  this month, it is well stocked in most stores, and Tescos have featured it on posters in the underground. Being published is an interesting experience for a seasoned writer as myself (including all the books The Map is my 8th book) the run up is always a little nerve wrecking, then actually being published is a little anti-climatic (although walking into the stores and seeing it on the shelves is always a buzz) then there’s the calm before the storm – waiting for reviews and sales figures – that’s where I am now.

I revisited the Basque country on a four day trip with my close Basque friend Ana in mid January for an article for The Australian (it really is one of my most favourite parts of the world) and we did a fantastic trip driving along the surface roads – to be recommended, the freeway is quicker but you will see little of the countryside, the surface roads winds you around the mountains and along the coast – through the extraordinary beauty of Pais Vasco Euskadi, great eating and great company.  Bilbao- Bermea, Gernika, Urdaibai, Gaztelugatxe (great chapel dedicated to the martyrdom of St John the baptise on an tiny island – very magical) a tiny village called Anlesti for a great Saturday night meal, then onto Lekeito, Bolivar, and finally San Sebastian the next day. One of the great perks of the kind of writing I do is the people and places I get to know along the way, and I made some great connections on the research for The Map. Hopefully Dynasty (the next T.S Learner venture) will lead me into just as extraordinary a world. If you see me wandering around Zurich you’ll know what I’m up to!

Hope all of you out there started the year with a surge of optimism and energy.

Tobsha x