Caroline Smailes and Black Boxes

This morning, I blew my nose, and – being one of those people who checks – saw that the contents were blue-black. Ah, yes: A trip to London last night. The reason? Caroline Smailes, a British author published by The Friday Project, had launched her latest book, Black Boxes, at the Borders in Oxford Street, and I’d toddled along to get a signed copy and meet the author.

Last year, I wrote a review of Caroline’s first book, In Search of Adam over at I only write reviews of books I like, and while there were bits that i found difficult, I did like it overall, and have recommended it to friends. I’m told that Black Boxes, Caroline’s new book, is somewhat similar in style but not quite as dark. You can get your copy in all good book shops.

At the launch, Caroline did delivered an admirable performance of the beginning of her book, and provided insightful answers to the questions fired back by the audience.

For my jaundiced eye, which yellows the more with each passing year that my books remain on the hard drive of my computer, it was nice to see Clare Christian, head of The Friday Project (recently acquired by HarperCollins), passing a gift to Caroline as thanks for sticking with the imprint despite the difficulties and somewhat negative press surrounding the acquisition. It’s a cliché often repeated (mostly by writers, I think) that publishers are not devoted enough to the written word, but Clare certainly is, and it’s her focus on this that will probably see TFP taking off once more.

So it was a nice evening. Clare and Caroline were both lovely, and I wish them well with the book and the books to come. Caroline has her feelers out for an agent and I expect her to get snapped up by one of the big firms momentarily. I won’t be doing a formal review of Caroline’s book in a separate publication, but what thoughts I do have about it, I’ll post here.

Incidentally, no sign of the elusive Scott Pack at the reading. I think he was delayed by something cheese-related.

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Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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