Launching Home

Published by: Squidge on 9th Feb 2018 | View all blogs by Squidge

You've probably read Skylark's blogs about her route to publication with Jesika's story? The one that started life as the opening story in Stories for Homes (the first one). I'm not going to repeat that here... 

Yesterday was Skylark's London launch of the novel 'Home' which grew out of that short story.

There were lots of cloudies there, cheering her on, celebrating her success and buying copies of the book. Off the top of my head, we had... Daeds, Alan P, Whisks, Ath, Bric, Hil, Tony, Philippa, John, Debi, Jnet, Emma, Will, me, Sonya, Gippsgirl, Moira, Jane, oh gosh, I'm bound to have forgotten someone!

I daresay Skylark will blog in due course, so I'm not going to steal too much of her thunder. But I AM going to tell you about the book.

I started to read Home on the train last night, and finished it today. In fact, apart from going to Pilates this morning, I've done nothing but read because I couldn't put it down. (Good job I finished in time to take the cat to the vets)

It is STUNNING. Not because it is a debut novel of amazing quality, or because it handles difficult social issues with sensitivity, but because the characters feel so real. Immersed completely in four-and-a-half year old Jesika's head, the reader really experiences on one hand the confusing messages that adults give children - whether unwittingly or deliberately, and on the other hand, the simplicity of the simple truths that children observe in the world around them. Even seen through Jesika's eyes, there is a cast of amazing characters, especially Tina, Jesika's mum. How she carries on is beyond me - yet people do, and try to make the very best of what life throws at them. (You'll see what I mean when you read it.)

So... I would encourage you to buy Home. Read it. Spread the word about it. And raise a glass or two to one of our own cloudies who deserves every ounce of success this novel brings her. 





  • Daedalus
    by Daedalus 6 months ago
    It was an absolute delight to be there. As Debi said elsewhere, the sheer love for the author that was evident was rare even for an event such as this. And yes, the book is every bit as good as Squidge says (not to mention those 50+ 4 and 5 star reviews). Lovely to meet those Cloudies I'd not met before IRL, and great to see those again who I'd met before (and yes, Skylark, it was just under four years!) - but most of all it was brilliant to see the reception the book is receiving, and the recognition of its author.

    More of this sort of thing from the Cloud, please :-)
  • Debi
    by Debi 6 months ago
    More, Daeds? I had a quick count and think there were more than 15 of our self-edit alumni there amongst the Cloudies, and several who have gone on to be published. Off the top of my head, apart from Mandy natch, there was Moira (second novel published a few days ago), Bric (first novel to be published next Feb), Sonja ... Who else? Well, Squidge herself, of course, and you, Daeds. Isn't your launch up next?

    Link to my FB post with all the pics:
  • John Taylor
    by John Taylor 6 months ago
    Squidge, you're so right. Home is more than just a good book or a compulsive read. Skylark (a.k.a. Amanda Berriman) has given us one of those books that re-orients the reader.

    Home holds up a mirror to our society: a young child sees things in a different way, sometimes more and sometimes less than an adult. It gives us a different perspective on ourselves, and hopefully it will stir compassion for people like Tina, Jesika's mother, who are commonly dismissed as losers. If our society is to be considered anything like humane, we need that vision, and we need it desperately right now.
  • EmmaD
    by EmmaD 6 months ago
    It was a wonderful do, and fantastic to see so many Cloudies, celebrating such a wonderful book.
  • Hil
    by Hil 6 months ago
    What a launch - and so many cloudie friends! To echo the others: READ THE BOOK!
    You know that thing where a book is indeed utterly unputdownable, but you want to save up the ending because you don't want to have finished it...
  • Athelstone
    by Athelstone 6 months ago
    It was a brilliant evening. I've loaded a few snaps onto the cloud in an album called "the Adventure of Skylark and the Book Launch" which you can get at through my profile.
  • Skylark
    by Skylark 6 months ago
    Thank you everyone for making the launch so special - and thanks Squidge and Athel for sharing stuff here! I will write a blog soon when it all calms down a bit!! xxxxx
  • GippsGirl
    by GippsGirl 6 months ago
    So proud to have my copy of Home with a personal message from Skylark on the title page. I agree with Daeds that it was testament to the fondness with which she is held that so many of us made the effort to get into London for the launch. It's a truly uplifting moment to witness a fellow Cloudie's success in introducing their published book to the world. You inspire us Skylark, and we are all urging Home on to great success. x
  • Tony
    by Tony 6 months ago
    It was great to be there to share a little of Skylark's excitement and meet up (again, in many cases) with other Cloudies. Getting a copy of Home and having Mandy sign it for me was just the icing on the cake.

    As Jessica might have said: "It was squashy and squashy in Don't Books for the home lunch (only we weren't at home, we were in London and there wasn't any lunch. I didn't understand that.) But I don't think anybody minded. Nobody had their cross faces on. Even their eyes were smiley eyes and everybody was saying congo nations to the nice lady who made me up. I felt all warm in my belly and I think everybody else did too."

    Or, as I would say, Write on, Skylark!
  • mike
    by mike 6 months ago
    Didnt know about the book launch. Will have you get a copy at a bookshop! All the best, Skylark - but you have a name now! I hope it can be filmed. I read Mat Haig's latest novel, It is really a version of the X men and he makes comment at the end that there is a film proposal. The last four contemporary books I have read seem more the plots for films than narrative novels.
  • Debi
    by Debi 6 months ago
    Good impersonation, Tony, but JESIKA would be furious at the mis-spelling of her name. ;-)
  • Tony
    by Tony 6 months ago
    Woops! That's the fault of something Mummy calls spelch-ek.
  • Jill
    by Jill 6 months ago
    Fully intending to buy what I know is going to be an excellent and moving read. You have done Skylark proud with this blog and, as you say, she deserves every ounce of praise... Jx
  • Jill
    by Jill 6 months ago
    No sooner said than done! Ordered on Amazon. Intend keeping it to imbibe on holiday quite soon, otherwise jobs here may not get done if it is un-put-downable!
  • mike
    by mike 6 months ago
    Dear Skylark,
    There might well be an adult interest in a certain type of book about children rather than for children. You have a literary agent who will know more than I do. (Though I have always worked with books and the public.)
    I recently saw a play the ‘Old Vic’ which is based around a children’s fantasy sci-fi novel. I don’t read these myself but a lot of world clouders have tried to write them. I doubt if anybody is interested but I could write a layman’s comment on the play. The people who go to these sort of productions and listen to radio 3 are far more likely to buy your book - or any book. They are, however, even more likely to borrow the book from their local library. TV tends to be B celebs while Bernard Cornwell gets interviewed on radio 3. I suspect this is because his music choices are for oratio and church masses. If you are on Desert Island Discs you have to pick punk music. You can usually pick the choices yourself and just go by the age of the person interviewed. Bernard Cornwell takes you by surprise.
    I saw a Chinese film yesterday. It was about a boy who wishes to play a reed instrument. The film is a lament for Chinese folk music and culture that is being replaced by pop music; though the amplified band plays Sousa. I suppose this is a comment about American imperialism. As a story about childhood, the film is excellent. I saw ‘Whistle down the Wind’ recently and it was closer to this film. Things might change but it is unlikely - even though the sequel to Paddington Bear has been a big hit - and a film about Christopher Robin. I saw both these films at my local cinema and the audience was mostly adult. The audience for the Chinese film are far more likely to buy books of a literary nature. Foyles have a branch in the Festival Hall and there is a bookshop in the National Theatre, the Globe, and the British Film Institute.
  • Skylark
    by Skylark 5 months ago
    I didn't realise there were all these replies - Squidge's blog, not mine! I will write one myself but still floating back down to earth. A few days back at school have helped there. Thank you everyone for your lovely words - and Tony. that's an impressive impression of Jesika :-D More soon....
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