In case you’re here from the Observer/Guardian piece, to find the first chapter of The Purple Shroud, or my (slightly more nuanced) thoughts on trailers than the snippet quoted, here you go …
(ps – I have no regrets about Penguin trailer at all, that & other Penguin publicity did v well for me in the US – Theodora earned out within three months. The Purple Shroud is published in UK by Virago, not Penguin, and right now I find myself interested in reader response to actual writing, rather than talking about writing. Hence giving this a go.)
I have written a book. It is my thirteenth book. I am very proud of it, it’s called The Purple Shroud. I think it’s a good sequel to Theodora, and I think – as I do with every book I write, at the time I write it – that it’s the best book I’ve written. So far.
However, because it is 2012 and because this is the way things are done these days, I have been thinking about making a trailer which would be me, on screen, telling you about the book and finding ways – subliminal and not – to suggest you go out and buy it. Click a button and buy it. Buy it.
Many writers make these trailers. I made one for Theodora last year. I was happy with it and so were my publishers, and people said it made the book seem interesting and so…
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One of the most famous inscriptions was found presumably on the tomb of a woman called “Turia.” Written by her husband, Pharsalus, this account presents all the qualities a man could want in a wife. When her parents were murdered, Turia saw to it that their murderers were brought to justice and that her inheritance was returned to her. When Pharsalus was proscribed in 43 B.C., Turia helped him escape into exile and then got on her knees to Lepidus to make sure he would acknowledge the pardon earlier granted to her husband by Philippi Octavian. Though they shared forty-one years of happy marriage, they had no children. Knowing how important this was in Roman marriages and assuming it was her fault, Turia offered to divorce Pharsalus so he could marry another. Pharsalus’ responded: “I must admit, that at this I exploded; I went out of my mind; I was so horrified by your suggestion, that I could scarcely pull myself together. The very idea of your even imagining the possibility of ceasing to be my wife, when you had once c
lung so firmly to me when I was an exile, and as good as dead. How could having children matter to that degree?”50 But things were different by the end of the Republic.
This couple was about 500 years before Theodora and Justinian mentioning married in ancient Rome.