Novel ideas

Creative highlight of last weekend for me was photographing a small set for writer Beatrice Colin. Her novel disappearing act concernsĀ a trapeze artist and is set in a circus. We had to try to put together a small set with a few elements that in some way suggested that environment.

Saturday afternoon was spent among straw and canvas, building the set and then lighting the shot. The lighting was relatively problem-free; the hardest challenge in fact was finding the right positioning for the shoes. We tried just about every possibility, and the shot we finally chose for the cover was just about the last shot we took. Perseverance pays off.

In our topsy turvy world the book trade is just as much in flux as anything else. The demise of the high-street bookstore and the advent of eBook technology is posing some interesting questions. Many writers get quite exercised at the way the existing publishing system is fairly solidly stacked in favour of the publisher and against the writer. And that’s without mentioning the sensitive subject of royalties.

Beatrice is a successful writer whose earlier novel The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite was a Richard and Judy book club choice. Although disappearing act was previously published in the US, Beatrice has decided to publish it in the UK as a Kindle book available on Amazon, doing everything herself, without recourse to a publisher. This is new ground. The new medium of eBooks potentially tosses all the traditional elements of publishing in the air, and it’s too early to say where they will land.

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