~ Hazel Harps On

American Penguins & A Half-made Harp

Another month of this peculiar year has flown by and I hope you're all hanging in there. I miss friends but continue to be very grateful for husband, garden and cat. I am still immersed in harpish and bookish things in my little corner of Exmoor. I'm happy to say there’s been cause for celebration this month. Clue:

Yes! My second book was published in the USA and Canada on 16th June. It's been out in the UK since March with a different title (AWAY WITH THE PENGUINS) but America is huge! We toasted the success of the book with pink bubbly - and my fluffy penguin, who is named after one of the characters, inevitably got into the photo too. I’ve realised that penguins are generally more popular than harps, so I’m thinking this might be ‘the big one’ for me...

Much hangs on spreading the word, and I have to say my publicists have been totally amazing. I’ve been busy writing articles (my current one is a piece entitled WHY WRITERS ARE LIKE PENGUINS). I've taken part in telephone interviews which have been broadcast across the other side of the world, and the book has featured in all sorts of high profile blogs, magazine articles and reviews. The Good Housekeeping review said 'This adorable tale will put a smile on your face' and AARP magazine (which has the largest circulation of any magazine in the US) calls the novel 'Just charming.' Whoop! Whoop!

More locally, I was due to talk at eight libraries across Somerset this year but these events have, of course, been cancelled. However, Somerset libraries kindly hosted a Q&A session on Twitter for me. I’ve also been critiquing the work of two other writers, so my brain cells have been fizzing away. And of course, I’ve been working on book 3… which may or may not get published depending on the success of the other two…

The harp news is good. I expect I’ve mentioned my long-awaited harp before now, but just in case I didn’t: I am having a harp hand-made specially, just for me, by a wonderful harp maker called Mark Norris. This is (a) because I am too weak and feeble and achy to keep dragging my lovely big harp around with me and need something lighter; (b) because what apter way could there be to celebrate the publication of my debut novel, ELLIE AND THE HARP MAKER? Yes, it was published in spring last year, which is a long time ago, but Mark had a waiting list, it takes time to make a harp and now it’s taken even longer because of lockdown shenanigans. But here are some of the harp-in-progress pictures that Mark has kindly shared.

Wow, am I getting excited about this! And when my new harp finally arrives I somehow think there's going to be more bubbly...

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