I waved goodbye to DARKE forever yesterday. The little yellow courier van took the proofs back to America to HarperCollins. I have spent the last week just checking through everything, making sure it all makes sense and reads well. And it does! Mark has done some really beautiful new illustrations. There’s a lovely new – somewhat romantic – one of Simon, a new one of Marcia too, also Sep and Beetle – both a little older and a lot more confident. And for duck fanciers there is a special one of Ethel in her new waistcoat.
Now for the less fun stuff. I know lots of fans are unhappy with the UK publishing date – and that includes me too. I have talked this over a lot with my editor at Bloomsbury. Both she and I were trying to find various solutions, including maybe a limited release in June, but in the end nothing was possible and of course they must have the final say in this. I asked Bloomsbury for a statement explaining the problem that I could post here and this is it:
“There are big differences between the US and UK hardback and paperback markets. We will be publishing DARKE hardback in autumn because autumn makes a lot more sense for our UK market.
“We cannot give an advance release to limited bookshops because that would be unfair to their competitors.
“Our export paperback is always available before the UK paperback, but this time it also available before the hardback UK edition as we have to match the American publication date in areas where both editions can be sold.”
I hope this explains things, even though it doesn’t fix them.
I’m off to get started on the Prologue of Book 7 now…