Sunday, 4 March 2012

Announcement - New Arrival!

Proud mum of Jasmine Skies, is recovering well, if slightly overwhelmed!

On Friday 2nd March at 3.33pm I welcomed my new arrival - Jasmine! It's a girl. She weighs 337 pages and  I've been told she looks beautiful (if just slightly on the orange side!) Family and friends were on hand to welcome her. I thought you would like to share in our news!

And then as if her arrival wasn't enough Jasmine was presented by the most wonderful review by Lucy Coats
In her blog Scribble City Central as part of her # FantabFri mythical creature series in which I write about Airavata; the celestial elephant God of the clouds.

'Sita's first novel, Artichoke Hearts, won the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize last year, and is currently on the Carnegie 2012 longlist. When I read it, I was struck not only by its tender but unflinching depiction of the relationship between a dying grandmother and her grandaughter, but also by the vivid and unique voice of its narrator, Mira Levenson (then 12 years old). I was therefore delighted to meet Mira again in Sita's new book, Jasmine Skies, which I've been lucky enough to get my hands on early (it's out at the end of this month). 
 Mira - now two years older - travels to Kolkata to meet her grandfather's family for the first time. But there's a mystery.  Why haven't her mother and her mother's cousin spoken for so many years? What happened to estrange them all that time ago?  Why won't anyone talk to her about it?  Stolen letters throw up questions whose answers seem to lie in the tumbledown family house on Doctor's Lane - where she's not allowed to go.... 

‘Sometimes second books can be disappointing.  This one most certainly isn't.  In fact, I think it's even better than the first.  Sita's skill lies in making her reader really feel that intimate tug and pull of family relationships as well as the confusing ups and downs of teenage love, and in this book she also shows us facets of India not often seen in children's books.  I don't want to put up any plot spoilers, but I loved small touches like the practical solution the Kolkata mums find to the smelly loos at the dancing gala, which give this book the stamp of true insider realism. Mira is as tenacious and endearing as ever, and the tantalising ending promises what would be (for me) a welcome third volume in the series.  
Lucy Coates – Scribble City Central . March 2nd 2012.

Rea and Ciara from Alexandra Park School were the first fourteen year old girls through my door. As Mira is fourteen in Jasmine Skies I thought it good Karma for them to have the first free signed copies of Jasmine Skies.

My elder daughters Maya and Esha-Lily holding our new book-baby Jasmine Skies in their arms!

In this book Esha- Lily (aged 7) makes her illlustrator debut with the most adorable monkey drawing. On March 1st she was lucky enough to have the wonderful Jane Ray visit her school for world book day. She wanted to tell her about her soon to be published illustration but was too shy.

I have not added to by blog recently on account of being a bit preoccupied with writing my book! However, I promise to add regular entries in the build up to the publication of Jasmine Skies on March 29th.

'Mad as a March Hare'  blogs I'm planning are:

The Book Trailer ... coming soon .

The debut launch of my book trailer will be on Macmillan's MyKindaBook website on March 16th. featuring Maya my daughter, Kathak dancer Neha Patel, Ronak Rajj, the eyes of many of my friends and footage of Kolkata. Camera man Shaun Cobley (Camera Man on 'War Horse' and ' The Iron Lady') With sound and original music by Julian Portinari. Edited by Epoch Films. It's a visual treat...

Give Away.... There is fleeting footage of an extraordinarily famous actress in the trailer. If you can:
name her and a film she's been in, I'll put your names in a 'correct answer Easter bonnet!' and the three first names I pull out will receive a free signed copy of Jasmine Skies. Deadline April 30th.

The Cover
How photos of Kolkata (and my shawl - above!) contributed to the cover design.  Illustrations by Kate Forrester and Paul Young

Musing on Fate
How March the thirteen is a significant day (My Birthday) and Miras and why my real aunt Mira seems to have been part of this story.

DJ Research
How Nihal Arthanayake DJ for Radio 1 and BBC Asian Network helped me with the research for my Kathak-dancing, dubstep-mixing character Priya.

Strange but true..How an extraordinary real life coincidence is woven into the fabric of Jasmine Skies.

Letters in Jasmine Skies
Why I still write letters to my Kolkata cousin, even though we also facebook, email etc.

And don't forget to check out and leave comments on:

Where Jasmine Skies is to be Book of the Month in the lead up to publication on March 29th...


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