The Jasmine Throne is out today! Unless you’re in the UK, in which case it’s out on Thursday. But either way, it’s release day somewhere or very close, and I’m so excited!
I found a copy of The Jasmine Throne ready for shelving at a Waterstones on Gower Street in London and they allowed me to sign a few copies. Also, I got to meet my book in the wild for the first time next to a Dalek - nothing could be better than that.
You can buy The Jasmine Throne at any bookshop, and if you don’t have a local indie bookstore you can probably get yourself a copy from Bookshop!
You can register here. It’s worth registering even if you can’t make it, because you can submit questions for me or for Shiromi (the narrator of the audiobook) to answer, and you can watch the event later via playback.
And that’s all! Thank you so much for all your support. This book is so special to me, and I hope it becomes special to you, too.
The Jasmine Throne is out on June 8th (or June 10th in the UK). Buy links: US | UK | International
There’s a US & Canada only Goodreads giveaway for a print copy here
I have an event on Tuesday 25th with Suyi Davies Okungbowa at 2pm EDT/7pm BST - you can still sign up here!
Pre-Ordering The Jasmine Throne
It’s not long now until The Jasmine Throne is out in the world, which is so exciting. And nerve-wracking. I have a lot of complicated feelings about the book being out in the world, and what it means to me. I wrote a little about this on my website here.
The pre-order gifts I announced in my last newsletter are now all gone, and I’m in the process of sending them out. Please be patient with me, I am but one woman, etc. But there’s still time to pre-order, if you’d like to support the book release. The benefit for me, if you order the book in advance, is that it helps my publisher know the book has support and encourages them to push my work. The benefit for you is that you get the book faster. A win all round, wink wink.
Some US buy links are available here. Some for the UK are here.
You can also order by contacting your local bookshop directly, which is a great way to support local stores!
And that’s all from me until release day, when I’ll be sliding back into your inbox with more news and/or excited screaming. Thank you as always for all your support - I’ve been so overwhelmed and delighted by the kind responses I’ve had to my books, and I appreciate you all.
It’s about four months until The Jasmine Throne hits bookshelves on June 8th. Before I get into something I’m really excited to show you (character!! art!!), I have some events are coming up!
I’ll be chatting to C.L. Clark, author of the fantastic novel The Unbroken on March 16th, 7pm GMT. You can sign up here
I’m taking part in the Read for Pixels campaign, in support of ending violence against women. I’ll be on YouTube here on the 21st March
I’ve never commissioned art for one of my books before, but this time I was determined to treat myself to something really beautiful. So after some research and creeping through the social media of a lot of artists, I commissioned Kim Ekdahl/Pinktofu Art (rep’d by the Bright Agency) for character art of two of the main characters from The Jasmine Throne: Priya, the maidservant who is secretly a priestess with forbidden magic, and Malini, the vengeful princess.
And here they are:
I absolutely love this art and I hope you do too.
I wanted to thank people who have pre-ordered, and to that end I’m offering to send out art cards to anyone who submits proof of pre-order, as long as stocks last - and unfortunately they are somewhat limited, so do move swiftly.
The art cards, I think, are pretty swish! Here’s a preview for you, that’ll hit Instagram and Twitter later. And apologies, in advance, for my terrible lighting:
To get your pre-order gift, just fill in the form here. Just a little thanks, from me to you, for pre-ordering the book, as pre-orders really do make a huge difference to a book’s sales and support. x
Hello, pals. It’s been a while since my last update. But on the plus side, I come with lots of news. I hope some of this will brighten your day, in what is an extremely difficult week for so many of us.
Which is to say: if you don’t have the brain space for publishing news, if you scroll further down you’ll find bunny photos.
Some highlights, since our last chat:
The Jasmine Throne now has a cover, revealed on SciFi Now (and below!)
You can order The Jasmine Throne in advance via these links
The Jasmine Throne’s publication date has been moved from April to June 8th 2021 (June 10th in the UK)
I really love it so much. Sometimes I just stare at it. This is totally normal behaviour, probably.
The cover was designed by Lauren Panepinto; the art is by Micah Epstein. They did an absolutely fantastic job, and I really appreciate the work they and my editor have done on making the cover reflect the content. A brown woman! In a sari! Staring out at you! It just feels so MUCH, you know?
Or maybe you don’t. I’m not, admittedly, articulating this very well. But seeing a desi woman in a sari, on the cover of the kind of genre book I’ve always loved and always wanted to write is - huge. Maybe a little indescribable. Lovely, though. Maybe I cried a bit.
To expand on other news a bit: I’m absolutely blown away that Empire of Sand is considered (at least by someone at Time) one of the top fantasy books of all time. All time is a lot of time. (I’ve written the word ‘time’ a lot. I know.) Lists all have their limitations - some of my favourite books were not on there, after all - but it’s still a great feeling, and a real privilege.
I’m sorry the publication date of The Jasmine Throne has been pushed back to June, but I hope it’ll be worth the wait. You can pre-order it online via links here, if you’re inclined to. This is very helpful in indicating excitement for a book to publishers; but I also know it’s more than six months until the book is out, so it’s understandable if you are not quite yet inclined!
There will be a small pre-order campagin; but I’ll save that until January, at the earliest. Hold onto your receipts.
Life Stuff (aka Bunny Stuff):
In my last update, I told you about my new pet rabbits, Esme and Gytha. A trip to the vet revealed that Esme and Gytha were not wee girls, but were in fact wee boys. I was quite happy for them to keep the same names, but a family vote was clear: the boys needed ‘boy names’. (I know, I know.)
If you think I used this decision as an excuse to name them after a different set of characters I love:
So Esme and Gytha are now Wei Ying and Lan Zhan. If you’ve watched The Untamed you’ll know the provenance of their names, but suffice to say that if you like yearning, necromancers, crying your heart out, m/m love stories, and bunny rabbits, you’ll want to check this series out.
A non-exhaustive list of things about them that are joyous about Wei Ying and Lan Zhan bunny: their long, tufty tails. Their intense delight at the sight of cabbage. The fact they love eating birch leaves, for no reason I can fathom. Their pale, fluffy bellies and the way that Lan Zhan likes to sleep with his entire belly exposed, in what I have dubbed the ‘melted bunny’ position. The way that Wei Ying leans on Lan Zhan’s head to reach the hay at the top of the rack. The way Lan Zhan gets so excited by food that he runs in circles. The way that Wei Ying inhales any food in sight… and eats Lan Zhan’s food while he’s running in circles. Oops.
But the best moments are when they climb onto your knee and placed their paws on your chest, and just breathe all snuffly and soft against your cheek. Or when they let you pet their heads. Lan Zhan likes to lean on your leg and close his eyes and let you stroke softly across his forehead, up to his pointy ears.
I am not convinced rabbits love the way humans love. But to have a small prey animal trust you so utterly is a kind of love. It fills your heart right up.
I’ll leave you with one final image and some advice: fling yourself into life the way Wei Ying flings himself at cabbage. With gusto (maybe make sure you have someone underneath you to catch you, as Wei Ying does with Lan Zhan, bless them).
I’m sending love to you all - these are very Trying Times, and I hope the bunnies are a little solace. Until next time. xx
Hello, friends. It’s the day after the Hugo Awards, the sun is shining (and hot, and unrelenting; but let’s focus on the shine) and this newsletter has packed up its bags and caught a train from one platform (MailChimp) to another (Substack). What does that mean for you? Not much, really. If you were subscribed before the move, you still are. But you’re welcome to unsubscribe if that suits you, with no hard feelings.
It’ll be a long old while before The Jasmine Throne comes out, but I feel like it’s still managed to consume my life. It’s a chonky thing: 5-6 points of views, a cast of 20+ named characters, and multiple cultures and magic systems. Editing it has taken a lot out of me. But god, I’m really, really proud of it. It’s everything I want it to be: staunchly epic but also very intimate, sapphic, furious, heavy on the beautiful prose (you’ll pry adjectives out of my cold dead hands, etc), and full of the mythology and imagery I grew up with. Sita walking through fire; Sita asking the earth to open for her; Draupadi bathing her hair in blood. Etc, etc.
But more on that, I think, in a future letter.
I’m also really thrilled to be working on a remix/reclamation of Wuthering Heights. It’ll be set in the same time period as the original novel, but it’ll draw on the real history of South Asian migration to Britain: of lascar sailors, the East India Company’s exploitation of India, and mixed race children who were often forcibly ripped from half of their cultural heritage. I’m researching it now, and may sneak in some book recs into future letters as I dive deeper.
Books I’ve read:
I’ve been drowning in ARCs (advanced reader copies of books) and struggling to keep up, which sucks because they’ve all been stunning, but some books are out now that I’ve absolutely loved.
City of Lies- Poison! A siege! The elegant politics of The Goblin Emperor!
I have bunnies! In honour of the The Untamed, the original plan was to call them Hanguang-Bun and Yiling Hopzu, but at some point my spouse and I came to our senses and realised that wouldn’t suit the bunnies at all. So they’re named Gytha and Esme now, in honour of Terry Pratchett’s witches. We’re looking to buy a larger rabbit run as soon they stop being out of stock online, but our little Ramtops bun are nonetheless settling in nicely:
(Gytha is the slightly more orange-y one one the left eating grass. Esme is on the right. Yes, it has taken me days to properly tell them apart, and in dim lighting it’s impossible.)
Empire of Sand is apparently currently on sale on Amazon US for $2.99, so if you have friends who’re interested in trying my work, this may be their moment to give it a go.
Thank you for signing up for this letter and sticking with me. Hopefully I’ll be able to bring you news of a cover soon. Watch this space!