Lucy Cruickshanks

Author of THE TRADER OF SAIGON (2013) and THE ROAD TO RANGOON (September 2015). Published by Quercus. www.lucycruickshanks.com

Tag: Reading

New fiction discovery website – Bookaxe.com

I’m so excited today to announce the launch of my brand spanking new fiction discovery website, Bookaxe, which makes it quicker and easier for readers to find books they’ll love.

It’s been born from some of my learnings and frustrations from my publishing experience, as well as my experience as a buyer on sites like Amazon and Waterstones. There are so many books to choose from but the ways in which retailers allow you to search can make it difficult to see beyond the names and titles that you already know, or those that are relentless marketed.

In a nutshell, Bookaxe changes the ways in which readers source fiction.

  • We categorise books more accurately by their content, allowing readers to be more targeted in their searches
  • We create a profile of every readers’ likes and dislikes, which we use to make more precise and reliable recommendations
  •  We’ve done away with one-to-five star reviews, instead only showing you the opinions of users with similar tastes

All this means that not only can you be sure of a novel’s content, you can be confident of its quality too. We want you to love every book you read.

The site is now live at www.bookaxe.com and we sincerely hope you find something you love. We’re keen for feedback too about what you’ve enjoyed and what you think could be better. You can contact me via Bookaxe, or by email at hello@bookaxe.com. We are also on Twitter and Facebook. Take a look and find your perfect read!

Lucy x

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99p Kindle Deals on Lucy’s books

Hooray! Both THE TRADER OF SAIGON and THE ROAD TO RANDOON are on sale on Amazon, at 99p each for Kindle copies. Snap one up while you can!

 

Author Q&A

Delighted to be featured on Anne Bonny Book Review’s blog this week, with her Author Q&A. Thanks for having me! You can read the interview and my guest post about the inspiration behind THE TRADER OF SAIGON, here. Bloggers are such great champions for fiction, spreading the word and supporting authors, and I’m always so happy to support them back too.

Drafts and redrafts

I got to leave the house today. Hooray!

I’ve been writing my socks off on Book 3 and making firm progress, so I went to London for lunch with my agent and his merciless red pen. He savaged the book, of course! Ripped it to tatters! But that’s what drafts are all about: working and reworking, finding flaws and unpicking them, tugging apart characters, plot and prose and then stitching everything back together to be more beautiful and powerful, and I can finally see the end as a speck on the horizon. It’s still a stretch away, but at least in sight.

The walk through London was grey and windy and more than a bit chilly, but I never tire of this wonderful view.

Happy New Year

Well hello there, grindstone. I remember you!

First day back at my desk and I’m on a mission to get this thing done! Very many thanks for your continued support in 2016 and Happy New Year, all. Here’s to hard work, happiness and lots of adventures in 2017.

Book club meet and greets

I’ve been out and about lots recently, touring local book clubs and chatting to others via Skype. It’s always great to sit and chat with readers about their views on my novels, hearing the things they’ve enjoyed and connected with and their ideas of what they’d like to see my do in the future. So often author spend their days writing alone, so there’s no end of value to be found from speaking first hand with the people you’re really working for, and reigniting the imagination. It’s great talking about books in general, in fact, and I love that I always come away armed with a new list of books to try from other authors.

If you’re part of a book club and would like to read TRADER or RANGOON and chat reading, writing and all things in between, do get in touch. Give me a break from the trials of Book 3!

Another little pile of books signed for another bunch of lovely readers!

Lucy Cruickshanks’ Top Ten Books on the East

I was spoilt for choice when H for History asked me to discuss my “Top Ten Books on the East” with them, this week. You can view my choices beside lots of other great bookish stuff if you have a Tumblr account, or have a nosey below, if you don’t!

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Ten of my favourite books on the East

By Lucy Cruickshanks

The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh takes the reader on an epic journey through more than a hundred years of Burmese history, chronicling the formation of a modern nation via the stories of three generations of intertwined families. It’s rich with cultural insights and colour, and with his ability to evoke a sense of time and place like few else, Ghosh deftly explores the complexities of colonialism, war, multiculturalism, dictatorship and the challenges to personal loyalties each brings.

Ambitious, charismatic and terrible, Balram Halwai realised young that success was rarely won through hard work and kindness and has instead risen through Indian society by an altogether more criminal route. In The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, Halwai recounts his journey with quick wit and a talent for self-justification, not so much describing how he navigated the country’s ambiguities and immoralities, as revelled in them. Winner of the Man Booker Prize in 2008, this is social commentary at its most caustic; a story of inequality, corruption and nation struggling to reconcile the glossy promises of modernity.

In Lost Horizon by James Hilton, troubled World War I veteran Hugh Conway’s plane is high-jacked. When it crashes in the remote mountains of Tibet, he finds his way to a curious utopian lamasery, Shangri-La, and is submerged in a paradise so ethereal and enthralling that the rest of the world can be forgotten, where tranquillity is only matched by beauty, but where as many questions are raised as answered and the peace may not be quite all it seems

Written by a former soldier in the North Vietnamese Army, Paradise of the Blind by Duong Thu Huong is a brave work of fiction that has been banned in Vietnam and seen the author imprisoned for her criticism of the government. The story follows a young Vietnamese woman on her journey into the 1980s Soviet Union in search of work. Stridently unsentimental and full of evocative imagery, the legacy of the American War weighs heavily, but this is a tale of a nation rebalancing, of the conflicts between tradition and progress, young and old, rural and urban, and the difficulties these cause for ordinary people.

Empire of the Sun by J. G. Ballard is a fictionalised account of the British author’s childhood in Japanese occupied Shanghai during the Second World War. When Jim is separated from his parents, he surrenders to the Japanese and is interned in a prisoner of war camp, learning to survive on his wits alone. Graphic and frank, and against a backdrop of death and deprivation, Ballard creates a coming-of-age story that feels honest and touching, in a world where uncertainty reigns supreme.

Set in Vietnam during the dying days of French rule, The Quiet American by Graham Greene uses the relationship between Fowler, a British correspondent, and Pyle, the quiet American of the title, to depict a complex world of post-colonial strife. Through masterful storytelling, poignant character details, perfect pacing and sharp, shrewd dialogue, Greene beautifully sets the romantic promise of Indochina against a prescient warning about the relationship between Vietnam and the West.

Fragrant Harbour by John Lanchester charts Hong Kong’s history since the 1930s through the eyes of four tangled but very diverse characters. With a love story at its heart, it traverses the whims of British colonialism, the horrors of Japanese occupation in World War II, the post-war exuberance and the uncertainties of the Chinese handover using clean, effortless prose and a sympathetic eye. Lanchester’s management of history is delicate, never impeding the story, but leaving the reader with a vivid insight into one of the world’s most vibrant cities.

Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle is a graphic travelogue that documents the year the author spent living in Myanmar’s capital, Yangon. While his wife travels the country working for Medicins San Frontier, Guy remains in the city with his young son and time on his hands. He’s baffled by the logic of the ruling military junta, clumsy at navigating cultural niceties and obsesses over rumours of an imminent bird-flu epidemic. Intelligent, affectionate, funny and surprisingly moving, this has to be one of the most original and perceptive accounts of contemporary Myanmar available today.

In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner is powerful fictionalisation of the author’s childhood experiences during the ruthlessness of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime. Narrated by seven-year old Raami, it tells of her family’s momentous fall from royal privilege, the murder of her relatives, the chaos of civil war and her survival through forced labour, sickness and starvation. Replete with myths and poetry, and as beautiful as it is harrowing, this is ultimately a tale of protecting childhood in a world of savagery, and the power of memories, resilience and hope.

In Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden, we learn about the life of Shin Dong-hyuk, the only person born into one of North Korea’s notorious prison camps to ever have escaped. His memories from inside the brutal totalitarian state are riveting and terrifying, and his adjustment to life outside, uncomfortable and sad. There’s an agonising sense of place that hangs over every page the memoir, which gives an unprecedented insight into the world’s most intensely secretive nation and will leave an indelible mark on your mind.

 

Creating a memorable sense of place: Article for ‘Writers and Artists’

It was great to be asked to write a little something for the ‘Writers and Artists‘ group recently. They’re a wonderful resource for both aspiring and established authors, and I’ve often turned to them over the years. Here I am, talking about the importance of setting in novels, and what it can tell readers about your characters too.

Happy Monday, everyone. Wishing you all a belter of a week.

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Lucy Cruickshanks on That’s Solent TV

We had a fun Tuesday in our house last week, with visitors from the local TV station. I got to chat about lots of interesting bookish things, the baby saved his meltdown for after the interview had finished, and the camerawoman didn’t notice the massive pile of washing up I’d hidden outside the back door in a last-minute dash. So all in all, I’m calling it a win! The footage is now available to view online. Follow this link to have a peek!

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Praise for THE ROAD TO RANGOON

“Exotic, dangerous, slippery, enjoyable, well-written…”

Praise for THE ROAD TO RANGOON from the South China Morning Post last week. Thank you!

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