Big drum roll ……………………………………….
(Which is kind of appropriate for a book about a rock band.)
Love Song will be out in spring 2016, and the cover is ready! Here it is.
Ta DAH ………………………………………..
Do you like it? It’s by Helen Crawford-White, and it fits in with the new brand of my books. Check out the new Threads covers and you’ll see. My favourite part of this one is the fern you can just see in the bottom right-hand corner. It’s there for a reason (nature features more in this book than you might think, for a story about a rock band), and I have a sparkly t-shirt that matches it perfectly.
I haven’t written a romance before, and Love Song is very definitely a twisted, cynical, fighting-to-the-wire romance. This, officially, is what it’s all about:
A million girls would kill for the chance to meet The Point, but Nina’s not one of them.
She’s the new assistant to the lead singer’s diva fiancée, and she knows it’s going to suck. She quickly learns that being with the hottest band on the planet isn’t as easy as it looks: behind the scenes, the boys are on the verge of splitting up. Tasked with keeping an eye on four gorgeous but spoiled rock stars, Nina’s determined to stick it out – and not fall for any of them …
To celebrate the launch of my new website today … (I’m so excited! I had such fun making this.* Have a look around. Tell me what you think.) … I’m including an EXCLUSIVE EXTRACT from Chapter 4.
He-hem. Clears throat. Reads.
My last hope for anyone with a grain of common sense was Tammy. To be honest, Tammy and common sense didn’t always fit in the same sentence, but surely she would understand how mad this idea sounded? I grabbed her over a coffee in the sixth-form common room.
‘I mean, why did Sigrid pick on me? What schoolgirl’s going to skip off during the exam season to go touring with The Point?’
I realised that didn’t sound right as soon as it came out of my mouth.
‘Any schoolgirl! Tammy exploded, spraying cappuccino everywhere. ‘Any single one. Me. Anyone in our year. Are you crazy?’
‘No. Sigrid Santorini is. Have you seen her on that show?’
‘She’s mad as a box of frogs,’ Tammy conceded, ‘but did you get the other bit? She’s going on tour. With The Point. She wants you to travel with them.’ She said the last bit very slowly, like she was explaining it to one of the twins.
This was Mum all over again, but louder, and with coffee froth.
‘I can’t just drop everything. I have exams. Mum needs me to help at home. I have a life!’
Tammy shook her curls at me.
‘You don’t have a life,’ she said. ‘You haven’t had a life for over a year, Nina Baxter, and you know it.’
‘That’s not fair!’
‘It is, and somebody has to say it. I know you’re over Jez, but I keep telling you to get back on the horse again, and you never do.’
‘“Getting on the horse again”, as you so delicately put it, doesn’t have to involve mixing with a bunch of smug rock star millionaires and their film star fiancées.’
‘You lost me at “millionaires”, babe. What better way could their possibly be? I can’t believe I’m even having to point this out to you. Go! And if the pressures of fame mean Jamie and Sigrid split up while he’s touring … you know … you can invite me over. I can help him overcome his devastating loss. I’m very spiritual that way.’
She did her “spiritual” face, like smoky-eyed nun, praying. It made me laugh so hard I started to hiccup.
‘You mock me,’ she said. ‘But believe me, I could comfort that boy. I could totally comfort him.’
‘I’m sure you could.’
‘Oh, speaking of. Here he is.
‘No, idiot. Jez. With Clementine. Act natural.’
‘Don’t tell them about –’
But before I could finish, my ex and his latest, leggy girlfriend were wandering over to say hello. Since me, Jez had worked his way through half the girls in our year, and some in the year above. Clementine was a showjumping grade-A student who occasionally modelled for her father’s sportswear business. They paused in front of us, with Jez’s arm slung casually around her shoulder.
Tammy bristled all over, like a flame-haired porcupine.
‘How’s it going?’ Jez asked. ‘You two look as if you’re having fun. Anything you can share?’
‘No,’ I informed him coldly.
Tammy looked him up and down. She was one of the few girls the boys all lusted after not to have gone out with him. (Out of loyalty to me – even Tammy admitted he was hot.)
‘Yeah, actually,’ she said. I gave her my don’t-go-there glare. But she ignored me. ‘Nina’s been invited to go touring around Europe. With –’
‘Oh, has she?’ Clementine butted in, with a sickly-sweet smile. ‘That’s such a coincidence. That’s what we’re going to do, as soon as the exams are over. Well, not Europe, exactly. Asia. My dad’s taking us to Nepal. We’re going trekking in the Himalayas, then visiting a wildlife reserve in the jungle … We might even get to Bhutan. It was all Jez’s idea.’
Oh, was it? My chest felt tight. The Himalayas? Really? Bhutan? He wasn’t so keen three years ago. He’d changed his tune now.
‘Yeah, we’re in luck,’ Jez grinned. ‘Clem’s dad’s sold his company, so he’s taking the whole family. We’re going on an elephant safari and we might even get to work with some of the animals in the reserve.’
‘Nepal’s so cool.’ Clementine chimed in, wrapping a possessive arm around his waist. ‘And it’ll help with our applications to vet school. They’re so competitive.’
Her smile was the perfect combination of smugness and pity. She knew I’d crashed my GCSEs after the latest breakup.
‘Oh, so you’re going on holiday with your dad. How lovely,’ Tammy deadpanned. She paused for a beat. ‘Nina’s going on tour with The Point.’
Silence. Perfect silence. Every conversation in the room seemed to stop. Clementine gawped at me. Suddenly, the Himalayas didn’t seem quite so tall.
‘As in, the band?’ Jez asked, eventually.
‘No, the breakfast cereal. Of course the band,’ Tammy snapped.
‘But … I didn’t think … you liked them,’ he said, staring at me.
He’d taken no interest in me for months. How would he even know?
Tammy nudged me.
‘Big fan,’ I said, looking him squarely in the eye. ‘Love them.’
‘We saw them at the O2, of course,’ Clementine announced, recovering her composure. ‘Dad managed to get us front row seats. We were so close we could nearly touch them. How many shows are you going to?’
‘I don’t think you get it,’ Tammy said, cutting across me. ‘Nina’s not going to see the band, she’s travelling with them. In their entourage. She’ll be touching them every day, I imagine.’
‘But how –?’
‘She saved the life of Jamie’s fiancée,’ Tammy said airily. ‘Didn’t you hear? You know what Nina’s like. They want her to start as soon as possible, so she might have to fly back for exams. It’ll be such a bore.’ She flicked a superior glance at Clementine, who was doing a reasonable impression of a goldfish. Or possibly a carp.
By now, four more sixth formers had clustered around to listen, and others were heading over. For once, they were looking at me with curiosity, not pity. I began to imagine Nina Baxter 2.0. I could be ‘the girl who went to Paris with The Point’, not ‘the girl who went to pieces’. I’d no longer be defined Trek Boy, and that moment couldn’t come too soon. I’d moved on ages ago, but nobody had noticed.
‘It’s the opportunity of a lifetime,’ I quoted. Oh my God. I was actually doing this.
Tammy’s face was one big, satisfied smile.
‘You win,’ I mouthed to her when nobody was looking.
Her smile grew wider. ‘I know.’
*Big thanks to Jim at Ring Forth for helping me with the new website look. You’re a star, Jim.