Europe – a dream come true

book at thalia vienna
First real-life sighting of my book!

I’ve been very quiet on the blog lately, mostly due to deadlines (hooray – deadlines are good as it means I have books contracted!), plus a family holiday (cruises rock!), and the chance to fulfil a dream I’ve held close to my heart since I started this publishing journey many, many years ago – a book tour in Europe! Now things aren’t so hectic, I’ll be writing a series of blog posts about the cities I visited and I’ll include travel tips (the ex-travel agent in me can’t resist!). I hope you enjoy the journey!

When I found out that the translation rights for Under the Spanish Stars had been sold by my USA publisher, Kensington Books, I was ecstatic! The German publisher who bought the rights, Aufbau Verlag, are very well-respected and I was excited to see one of my books in a language other than English. The German market has always been in my sights as I had heard from German friends that their book industry is very strong as reading is a valued part of their lifestyle. Plus, German-language readers tend to like Aussie author’s stories. Always a bonus!

So when the opportunity arose to go to German speaking countries and visit booksellers, readers, authors and my publisher, as well as undertake research for future books – I couldn’t say no! I packed my bag and jumped on a plane (okay … three) and flew from Australia to Europe in a daze because I couldn’t quite believe I was about to tick a few items off my wish list. 

First stop was Vienna and even though I was jet-lagged I had to find the nearest bookshop and get a copy of Die spanische Tänzerin (The Spanish Dancer). I found the biggest bookstore in Vienna (four floors!), called Thalia and went in search of my beloved book. Yes, I may have squealed when I found a copy and the shop assistants were so very sweet when they realised who I was and why I was there.

inside book
Inside the book

I had always hoped that one day a book of mine would be released in hardcover, but I didn’t expect to get so emotional to see if for the first time! The book designer at my publisher did such an amazing job, and the white on the cover feels like linen, and the graphics and type are glossy and raised. Inside is a gorgeous floral design and there’s also a built-in bookmark that is a lovely grey ribbon. One of my bookish German friends told me these bookmarks were very popular with the East German publishers and, as my publisher was originally in East Berlin (and was the largest publisher in the GDR), they’ve continued with this tradition. I found it very hard to stop gazing at this beautiful piece of art that my publisher had created. 

inside book 2
The in-built ribbon bookmark!

After signing books I started my trek back to the hotel, exhausted but elated. As I walked through a gorgeous park and in front of a statue of Strauss, I found a group of people dancing tango. The DJ played music but it could only be heard by the dancers as they wore headphones. Given my first book was about the tango, I couldn’t help but take this as a sign that this trip would be unforgettable. Vienna had already captured my heart but that was just the beginning … Stay tuned for more!

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