Chichester novelist Kate Mosse is delighted at the national – and particularly Chichester – response as her latest book The Burning Chambers goes into paperback.
The book is the first instalment in Kate’s biggest-ever literary endeavour, a new sequence of novels set against the backdrop of 300 years of history, from 16th-century France to 19th-century South Africa.
Kate said: “The response to The Burning Chambers has been amazing. I am incredibly grateful to all of the readers who put the book – that was number one in the hardback charts – back to the top of the charts in paperback.
“It was great to have so much support from Chichester and the surrounding areas. The very first event I did was at the Festival Theatre where 100 people came along and I signed the very first copies of the paperback two weeks before they hit the shops, and then the publication week was really amazing, with displays in the windows of Waterstones and Sussex Stationers and W H Smith. It is really heart-warming.
“But what is new for me this time is that because it is The Burning Chambers quartet, it is the first time ever that I have been planning a sequence of books over a period of time. I have never had the experience of talking about one set of characters while at the same time writing about their older selves. I am doing events for The Burning Chambers paperback, signing copies and talking to people about characters that they really love, but when I get home to my desk some of those characters have gone and some are 20 years older having suffered terribly... and it is very hard not to give things away! That has been a completely-new experience for me. I have never had that experience as an author of talking about character at the beginning of the story knowing that they are in a very different place right now as I am writing.”
Kate’s vision was clear from the outset of the whole project: “It’s essentially a Romeo and Juliet story, two families, one catholic, one Huguenot and 300 years of history, a Diaspora story.”
In book one, nineteen-year-old Minou Joubert receives an anonymous letter at her father’s bookshop. Sealed with a distinctive family crest, it contains just five words: “She knows that you live.”
But before Minou can decipher the mysterious message, a chance encounter with a young Huguenot convert, Piet Reydon, changes the course of her life forever. For Piet has a dangerous mission of his own, and he will need Minou’s help if he is to get out of La Cité alive.
The second book in the series, The City of Tears, will come out in April 2020. In the meantime, Kate is spending April in Amsterdam: “I am really thrilled to have been given a writer’s fellowship by the Dutch Literature Foundation for April 2019.”
Kate will also be renewing old friendships. On April 20, she will be doing an in-conversation event at the Cobra Art Gallery in Amsterdam with Stefan Van Raay, former director of Chichester’s Pallant House Gallery.