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(The new version of It's Raining in Moscow and I Forgot my Umbrella is available on Amazon. From 5th-9th April the kindle version will be available FREE!)

I haven’t written for months; time for an update.

I self-published It’s Raining in Moscow and I Forgot my Umbrella in November 2020 and, perhaps a bit late in the day, thought it would be a good idea to have the book professionally edited.

Anna, an experienced editor with a special interest in Russia and Russian literature seemed to be the right person. (That's not Anna on the left, that's my eldest daughter Megan, clearly enjoying an excellent book!)

Anna sent me an 8,000-word thesis and I was surprised to find I agreed with pretty much everything she wrote – surprised because I thought the first version wasn’t that bad; clearly it needed a lot of improvement:

"I should say upfront that it will be an uphill struggle to adapt this book for the mainstream market"

…was one of her opening lines. But she went on to say,

"This is a very enjoyable read, and I can see why it was picked out by the Selfies judges. The sympathetic and nuanced portrayal of dementia really feels like something special."

To act on her advice, would mean completely re-writing the book. These were her main points:

· Adapt Manya into a child character.

· Give Billy more agency and bite.

I was already working on the sequel by then and wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back to the beginning. However, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to give it a go. After all, if I didn’t enjoy rewriting, I could always stop.

I started from the beginning and found it rather rewarding. I especially enjoyed giving Manya some excitement during her intense training and making Billy bolder and more reckless. In the new version he goes to Russia and gets into all sorts of trouble.

(Another daughter, Emily, reading one

of the more exciting new passages).

I've just re-published the new version on Amazon with the same title and cover. I’m not expecting a flurry of sales, but I’m happy with the final version.

My son Charlie made this promotional video for me!

An excerpt from a Manya chapter:

Manya pressed her foot down on the accelerator and the car sped forwards, quickly reaching forty kilometres an hour, fifty, sixty, seventy. The wall came closer every second, but she waited until the last moment before slamming her foot on the brake.

Nothing happened. There was no resistance under her foot; the car didn’t slow down, and Manya screamed as the car ploughed into the wall.

And one from Billy:

I was tired, stuck on a train heading from Moscow to who knows where and handcuffed to a suitcase which was almost too heavy to carry. I lugged it onto the seat next to me and found my ear against the side of the case. I could hear ticking.

It was a bomb!

Next time I will tell you a bit about the sequel. It is set in England, Moscow and Ukraine (Sevastopol).

I'm in the process of choosing a title for the second book. It's between:

1. The Fox of Sevastopol

2. The Fox has Flown

3. The Fox has Flown to the Pole

I'd love some feedback. If anyone has read this far and has an opinion please get in touch!

NB The new version of It's Raining in Moscow and I Forgot my Umbrella is available on Amazon. From 5th-9th April the kindle version will be available FREE!


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