CAFE DU JOUR, a book that I featured on my blog a couple of years ago. It was originally published by Mira's Australian office and the paper version didn't make it to the US or UK, which considering Lillian hasn't written more than 100 books and has a world-wide fan base, seems a little short-sighted. (I had my copy sent from Australia!)
Now, however, thanks to the wonders of the digital age, Cafe Du Jour is an eBook and you can read wherever you are.
The is from my original blog...
I can't actually remember the first time I met Lilian Darcy.
It was certainly in America. Washington or Denver, at one of those terrific Mills & Boon pizza parties that have become a legendary part of the Wednesday night of the RWA conferences when, after the literacy book signing, colleagues from all over the world gather, usually in Sandra Marton's room, for pizza and gossip.
I do remember her in Denver, though. Harlequin threw a rock n' party with an "Elvis" singer and Lilian grabbed me and said "let's dance" and golly, did we dance!
Today, in Australia, Lilian is launching her "book of the heart", a single title called CAFE DU JOUR, published by MIRA, and I wish, more than anything, that I could be there with her to celebrate its publication, but since that isn't possible, I'm doing the next best thing and having my own personal launch here on my blog.
Here's Lilian herself to tell you about her book: -
There's a lot of good writing in popular women's fiction, actually, which is why it frustrates me that we get so little positive attention in the media. If you're just a regular reader who reads whatever she wants to and browses a whole variety of racks in the bookstore you may not realise this, but there's a huge gulf between literary fiction writers and popular fiction writers, and I really wish it wasn't there. I think there's a fertile middle ground where the two groups could connect and learn from each other and in the process produce books that give the warm, powerful and pacy stories that romance readers love as well as the richness of some deeper themes and observations that we sometimes don't have space for in romance.
In celebration of this middle ground, and of bridging the gap between literary and popular fiction, I'm thrilled that my upcoming novel "Café du Jour" is going to be launched by one of Australia's best-known literary fiction writers, Roger McDonald. He won the Miles Franklin Award in 2006 for his novel "The Ballad of Desmond Kale" which is full of his usual rich, tumbling language and cavalcade of characters that somehow manage to be exotic yet quintessenetially Australian at the same time. (Hm. I suppose Australian *is* exotic to many people!)
"Café du Jour" itself falls into the middle ground between popular and literary fiction, I think, with its mix of sadness and quirkiness, happy endings and unfinished journeys. It was originally slated for publication by another publisher and was given to Roger for editing. His valuable insights provided the basis for the next draft, but then the publisher closed up the imprint and the book went homeless for years. Several more major drafts later, it is finally coming out, and because of its long incubation it is a book that remains particularly close to my heart, and is different in many ways from anything I've published before.
On that note - being different - I'd like to challenge all of Liz's blog readers to try something different in your reading this month. Yes, we all love to turn to our favourite authors for time out or stress relief or guilty pleasure or inspiration, but there are so many writers out there whom we don't take the time to discover. If you're up for a reading adventure, go into a bookstore and try something new. Choose a book on the strength of a cover that grabs you by the collar as soon as you look at it, or on the strength of the author's unusual name. Choose a book because you've never bought one from that rack before, or pick a random colour and buy the first book of that colour that you see. Close your eyes and just reach out to the shelf. Okay, I'll let you have a few trial runs at this. You're allowed to read the back cover blurb or the first page and put it back if it sounds really awful!
Yes, there are some really awful books out there. They're scattered all over the bookstore, masquerading behind great covers, famous names, rave reviews. And the books that I might think are awful, you might think are great. Ultimately, the thing I most want to celebrate is that, whether we're writers or readers, there is room for all of us.
Amen to that, Lillian!