Deborah Lawrenson - Biography
After a childhood of constant moves around the world - my family lived at various times in Kuwait, China, Belgium, Luxembourg and Singapore - I read English at Trinity College, Cambridge. I trained as a journalist on a weekly South London newspaper, then worked on several national newspapers and magazines.
My first novel, Hot Gossip
(1994), was a satire based on my experiences working on Nigel Dempster's diary column, and was followed by a sequel, Idol Chatter
(1995). The Moonbathers
, a black comedy, followed in 1998.
The Art of Falling
was a complete change of direction, which took five years to research and write. But trying to get it published was like starting from scratch again. In the end, after many false dawns and disappointments, I published it myself under the Stamp Publishing imprint in September 2003. Almost immediately it became clear that the novel had struck a chord with booksellers and reading groups around my home in Kent. Ottakar's liked it enough to recommend it to their stores nationwide, and the rights were sold to Random House. The Art of Falling
was republished by Arrow in July 2005 and
chosen as one of the books for the WHSmith Fresh Talent promotion that summer. It went on to sell more than all my previous books put together!
Songs of Blue and Gold
(2008) was in a similar style: a story that grew out of a book trail that began with the writer Lawrence Durrell and Corfu, my insatiable curiosity about past events and a love for the warmer shores and colours of southern Europe.
Provence was the setting of The Lantern
(2011). This was my first novel to appear in the USA, where it was published by HarperCollins to a fantastic critical reception; it was an Indie Next pick and a Costco Pennie's Pick. In the UK it was chosen for The TV Book Club Summer Reads on Channel4 and More4 and shortlisted for the RNA's 2012 Romantic Novel of the Year award in the Epic category.
The Sea Garden
(2014) opens in the South of France on the Mediterranean island of Porquerolles and revisits one of the settings of The Lantern, as well as one of its characters, Marthe Lincel the perfume maker.
My latest novel, 300 Days of Sun
is set in Portugal, opening on the Algarve coast around Faro. It's another "vivid escape to an intriguing place" (as the Washington Post kindly said about The Lantern
) and the story turns on the dark games of truth and lies played out when Lisbon was a centre of espionage during the second world war.
I currently divide my time between rural Kent and a crumbling hamlet in Provence, which is the atmospheric setting for The Lantern