Tuesday, 3 August 2010

I am the Great Horse - a secret history in (quite a few) blog posts!

Before any book gets published, even before the first word is written, a lot of unseen muse-work goes on behind the scenes. This highly secretive part of an author’s life might explain the recent popularity of literature festivals… authors talking about the inspiration behind their books can be just as entertaining as the books themselves, though this depends on the author of course.

Since Katherine didn’t get a chance to do many talks about “I am the Great Horse” and she is more entertaining on the page than on the stage, the Muse is going to prod her into doing a series of posts on this blog so she can give you an idea of how this book came to be written. The process is similar for all books, though the details may be different, so even if you hate horses and have never heard of Alexander the Great we hope you’ll find this series interesting.

Over the next few months, you’ll be able to follow the book’s progress from the initial inspiration, through the research and writing process, editing and publication, up to its appearance on the shelves of your local bookshop… in the Great Horse's case, a journey of three years. You’ll get a glimpse of the equine artwork that never found its way into the book, the 50,000 words that got edited out, the arguments behind the title, and the scary thoughts that go through an author's head in full creative flow.

We also hope to bring you interviews and guest posts from some of the many other people involved in its publication, such as the dedicated editors and translators who work (a bit like muses) behind the scenes. And since this novel was published three years ago but does not yet have a paperback edition in the US, we’ll continue to chart its progress in the hope of doing a book giveaway for followers of this blog when it eventually comes out. Muse hint: we don’t know yet quite when - or if - this will happen, so follow now if you want one!

At this point, a festival usually puts up a big screen with the book cover on it and someone introduces the author, so let’s start with the blog equivalent of that…

“I am the Great Horse” by Katherine Roberts
The story of Alexander the Great told by his warhorse Bucephalas.
Published by Scholastic US (2006 hardcover), Chicken House UK (2007 paperback), 500 pages, for readers 10 - adult.
See www.katherineroberts.co.uk for more details.

In the first post of this series, we’ll go back to the very beginning and ask Katherine where she got the idea for the book...


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