Tag Archive: Double the Stars


Double the Stars previews…

DtS in front of the remains of the famous 40-foot reflecting telescope made by William Herschel (Caroline's brother).

DtS in front of the remains of the famous 40-foot reflecting telescope made by William Herschel (Caroline’s brother).

 

My thanks to Royal Observatory Public Astronomer Marek Kukula, who is holding Double the Stars in front of the remains of the 40-foot reflector, one of many Herschel ephemera on display at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. We’ll launch the book there at 2pm on Sunday 28th September – save the date!

Also, my thanks to a sister alumnae at Randolph(-Macon Woman’s) College, who sent me a photograph of a poem about Caroline Herschel that she saw on display at Riverviews Artspace in Virginia. It’s interesting to see Caroline’s story from such a different angle – I’m used to thinking of Caroline as rather cynical and down-to-earth, and this is an ephemeral poem, but I particularly enjoy Long’s use of light.

Double the Stars is available from Cinnamon Press.

 

Poem about Caroline Herschel that I hadn't seen before - thanks to Emily Smith!

Poem about Caroline Herschel  – thanks to Emily Smith!

DtS with my friend Caitlin at my favourite place in the world, Napatree Point, RI!

DtS with my friend Caitlin at my favourite place in the world, Napatree Point, RI!

Double the Stars Now Available

Cover art by Cassie Herschel-Shorland.

********Sparkly celebratory cake******** Cover art by Cassie Herschel-Shorland.

It’s probably possible to not pun with astronomy, but I’m going to go ahead and say it:

I’m over the moon to announce that my debut novel, Double the Stars, is now available from Cinnamon Press! 

We’re officially launching the novel in September, in order to coincide with some exciting events. But, if you can’t resist reading it sooner, please do save those dates, and help me celebrate! I especially hope to see the many friends (if they live in the UK) who have been so supportive when hearing me talk about this book for the past six years or so…

Double the Stars will enjoy a ‘Double’ launch:

Bath & London

London:

The Royal Observatory Greenwich, Octagon Room, Flamsteed House. Sunday, 28th Sept, 2pm. 

 

Bath: As part of the Jane Austen Festival!

Wednesday, 17th September, 5:30pm, at the Herschel Museum of Astronomy.

I will also be giving a reading and running a creative writing workshop on the 18th.

 

Several curious readers have said, ‘Wait, what? A novel? I thought you had another poetry book coming out!’ This is true. It’s a very unusual year. I expect there will never be another like it.

Cinnamon Press took on my poetry collection, Atlantic, for publication three years ago. We knew it wouldn’t come out until 2014, because of the list of books Cinnamon had already taken on for publication. This isn’t an unusual waiting time. Though Cinnamon Press took the manuscript on as it was three years ago, this past January, I spent a lot of time revising and editing Atlantic so it would be a book I am pleased to publish now. Please do join us for the launch of Atlantic on 23 July: details here.

Writers will appreciate that their work must evolve along with them, and if one’s writing doesn’t keep up with one’s thoughts and feelings, there can be a great deal of dissonance between the book that is published and how one feels as a writer. I was intimidated by, but also glad for, the editorial opportunity offered by Cinnamon Press.

As for the novel, Double the Stars has been in the works since I moved to Greenwich/Blackheath back in 2008. Learning about Caroline Herschel – I first heard about her at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich – and immersing myself in research both in the NMM Caird Library and at the Whipple Museum of the History of Science in Cambridge, helped me begin to feel at home in the neighbourhood, in London, and in the UK. I feel that Caroline’s story (the tale of a young woman tossed from Hanover into the confusion of Bath, London, and Windsor,) somehow became my own story; that, as the years passed and I learned more about her, whilst living out my twenties, my story became hers.

In the midst of this, a serendipitous thing happened: I met John Herschel-Shorland, the direct descendant of William Herschel (Caroline’s brother,) and his son William Herschel-Shorland. William introduced me to his sister Cassie – who happened to live down the road! I’m honoured to say that Cassie and I have become dear friends, and Cassie has made the hand-crafted paper-cut which is the cover design of the novel.

The novel has been through at least five or six drafts, and at least three complete re-writes, where I scrapped it and began again (though each new draft built on those previous drafts). I keep looking at the book in disbelief, holding it up to other novels on my bookshelf…gosh. A novel. Really? Amazing!

On Goals: I made it a goal to publish a novel before I turned 30. I’m 29 (my birthday is in January). I find it especially rewarding and encouraging to set myself goals, and to work out how to make them happen in the healthiest way – a constant juggling act that I don’t always achieve. It’s probably the most-said thing about writing, but if you want to be a writer, you have to write – and I am grateful and conscious of how generous life has been, to unfold in a way that allows me to, almost exclusively, write.

I also constantly make choices that make writing a priority, though some hard lessons have been learned about valuing friends, family, and relationships above all. I used to focus on the (hell-bent) motto, ‘sacrifice everything to writing’ of Hughes and Plath. Don’t. Don’t sacrifice everything.

Above all, maintain yourself, your well-being, and a balanced perspective. I intend to slow down a bit now, but some people will laugh at that. We’ll see what it means. I’m spending my summer writing up an MSc dissertation…hmm…

Dear reader, I hope you read, and enjoy, these books.

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A novel!

On Cambridge 105 Radio

Photo courtesy of Marcos Avlonitis.

Photo courtesy of Marcos Avlonitis.

 

During the Cambridge Science Festival, I enjoyed meeting Leigh Chambers of Cambridge 105 Radio.

She asked me to speak about Opera di Cera, as well as tell her a little bit about Double the Stars!

To lead in, Leigh asked me what makes Opera di Cera a ‘verse drama’…

Go to SoundCloud for the audio clip (less than 10 minutes long)

Or: the whole Book Night programme (my clip appears in the middle) is available to enjoy here.

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Happy 2013!

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Sunrise over South London, 2 Jan 2013.

Happy Christmas and New Year to everyone! I hope you had a restful or fun holiday time, or both. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I could sleep until spring. This morning I was awoken by a glorious sunrise. I enjoyed it for a minute, and then went back to bed. Nonetheless, it felt like a serendipitous way to start the year.

It’s the first time I’ve spent the holidays in London, and I’ve enjoyed a most British Christmas: climbing St. Paul’s (where I saw graffiti older than the US of A,) having brunch at Roast overlooking Borough Market, touring my favourite place in Greenwich, the NMM & ROG, exploring the Science Museum, sharing good food, drink, and laughs with friends, seeing the latest Alan Bennett play ‘People,’ visiting familiar faces at the National Portrait Gallery, and wandering around London, my favourite city in the world.

I’m lucky to be able to spend this time like a proper at-home tourist. I’m also very pleased about what’s to come.

In January, a special project is going to host my poetry group, the Nevada Street Poets, in a Masterclass Workshop with Don Paterson, guest Poet in Residence at the Whipple Museum in Cambridge. This is very exciting, and as it develops, you shall hear more.

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Work in progress by Nicola.

The Naked Muse, my in-progress memoir about my experiences as an artist’s model, has piqued interest from a few literary agents whom I was lucky to meet at Christmas parties, and I shall be arranging pages and a proposal to send to them for consideration in Jan and Feb. Happily, I cracked my goal to write 100 pages of TNM before Christmas, and wrote 105 pages.

My mentorship with Cinnamon Press will begin in January as well: Cinnamon’s editor Jan will consider my manuscript of Double The Stars (a historical fiction about astronomer Caroline Herschel) and we will work to edit it throughout the coming year.

I’ll also begin to consider edits on Atlantic, my poetry collection that will be published by Cinnamon Press in 2014.

Please stay tuned for updates on all of these projects and more throughout the coming year, and may you all enjoy a productive and peaceful 2013.

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In front of Caroline Herschel’s ‘sweeping’ Newtonian Reflector at the Science Museum.

A photo I snapped on a previous visit to the Herschel Museum of Caroline's trinket box, complete with a lock of William's hair and her worry-bead.

Come Sunday I shall take the train to Bath for the INSAP VII conference: The Seventh international conference on the Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena, held this year in Bath, home to Caroline and William Herschel (as well as their younger brother Alexander): a conference of precisely 100 delegates who will convene at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution to share their work, ranging from art to academic studies – and a novel, of course! – all inspired by astronomy.

The opening reception will be held at the Herschel House, the home at New King Street where the Herschels used to live and work. The following week is packed with 20-minute talks and presentations, and I’m glad to be giving a reading from my manuscript on Monday so I can then relax and enjoy. I adore Bath! So, I shall give a reading from Double the Stars: The Life and Adventures of Miss Caroline Herschel. And I’m sure I’ll meet a great number of interesting and talented people, as well as see a few people I’ve met before in my astronomical adventurings, not least Michael Hoskin, leading Herschel scholar, and Peter Hingley, Librarian at the Royal Astronomical Society and the very person who told me about the conference.

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