Claire King


Win a proof copy of The Night Rainbow

Posted on: September 5th, 2012 by Claire - 32 Comments

Still 5 months until The Night Rainbow hits the book shops and it seems I’ve been talking about it for so long. I signed the contract back at the beginning of 2011, so actually the build up has been quite long. But all of a sudden the launch doesn’t seem so far away.

Recently uncorrected proof copies were sent out and here —–>

…is me holding one. It has a few typos and so on that went in with the copy edits, but it’s in the shape of a book and look, there are Margot and Pea on the cover.

These proof copies have gone out to the great and the good as Advance Reading Copies, in the hope that one or two lovely authors somewhere love the book so much that they will say something about it that we can put on the cover. I wrote about author blurbs here, by the way.

Anyway, the lovely people at Bloomsbury have a spare proof copy, and here’s the plan. I’m going to give it to one of you. I’ll even sign it.

Here’s what you have to do to win:

In The Night Rainbow, there is a lot of attention to the detail of things: the sound of a staircase, the taste of a tomato, the feel of water on your toes… When you’re a child, you have plenty of time to notice these kinds of things. They’re important. (Below you will see a quote from from the book from Margot, the narrator’s little sister, who explains things).

What I would like you to do is to notice something important in your day to day life, and post it in the comments. If you have children you are also allowed to ask them for help because sometimes they are better at this than grownups.

When there are plenty of important things I will pick out a selection of my favourites, and then I’ll post them up for people to vote on. The voting will close on 24th September, when I’ll be in the Bloomsbury offices and I can sign your book and send it to you. Voilà.

Good luck and have fun!

Thank you everyone for all you beautiful thoughtful and surprising comments. I loved how they ranged across the senses and it was so hard to choose a shortlist, but I have… You’ll find it below.

I’ve summarised the comments that are on the list, but if you look down in the original comments you can read them in full.

Please take a second to cast your vote(s) you can vote for up to three of the five and the winner when the poll closes next Tuesday morning (25th September) will get the book.

Good luck everyone!

[poll id=”2″]

The poll is now closed. Congratulations, Nettie and thanks to everyone who took part!

32 Responses

  1. The smell of the day: you wake up, and you can tell by its smell what kind of day it is. Today smells of the first, fallen leaves on the dew-wet grass, of earth and the mold of dying roses in the garden. Even though there hasn’t been any rain for a week or so, this smell is moist, rich, and it tells me one sure thing: fall is here.

  2. Hee! Some lucky person is in for a real treat…(she said, knowingly, as one of the few who have been lucky enough to read a copy of this brilliant book!)

    However, joining in (and for fun, not for the copy…)

    When I was 4 or 5 I was very caught up with maps. I used to follow the road map when we went in the car from Devon to south Wales. I remember wanting to know, when we left a town, on the road, so the town’s name was backwards, – what was that bit called? If it wasn’t in the town we’d just passed, and wasn’t in the town up ahead, what was it called? Never got a satisfactory answer. (!)

    • martha says:

      Ah, the world is in for a treat! Like Vanessa, I’m joining in for the fun not the proof.

      I love it when you get home, cold, wet and worried that you have pushed your children too far, so you hustle them through a warm shower, wrap them in fleece blankets, and serve up soup. As they raise their spoon, they pause… is it too hot? You watch them experience the moment before the mouthful, and you share that moment even though you have not yet picked up your spoon.

      As a child, I loved seeing my mother watch me eat. As a mother, I love it more.

  3. Congratulations, Claire. I can’t wait to read The Night Rainbow. It sounds exactly my favourite kind of book.

    The smell and taste of a window is the smell and taste of home. As a child, I used to look out of the window all the time. I loved the glass barrier between me and the outside, especially when rain was streaming down it. I loved making a breath-cloud on it and watching it clear.

    When I was in the back of the car at night, I looked behind at the road until there were no lights from houses, cars or anything at all. Complete darkness made it a ‘ghost road’. I love the way I was terrified of ghost roads, but spent the whole time facing backwards looking out for one.

    All the best with the countdown to the launch, Claire. I’m so very pleased for you.

  4. Claudia says:

    For me it’s the little things surviving in the midst of the giant, human chaos that is the city. Working in a park I see thousands of people passing and not noticing the tiny dramas taking place among the grass, or in the trees and shrubs: the grasshoppers, minute leafhoppers and flies that shine iridescently in the sun as they conduct their courtship. This morning a tiny gem fell out of the spider’s web stretched across the skylight high above my workspace and landed silently on my desk. Only a few mm across, it was a ruby-tailed wasp curled up in the classic defensive ball they adopt to withstand attack. Dead, but still breathtakingly beautiful and jewel-like, it demanded attention, so the spreadsheet was put on hold for a bit whilst I took the little insect on a tour round the office to share the wonder with my colleagues and perhaps encourage them to start noticing the important small things too.

  5. Nettie says:

    Sometimes at night, when the lights are off and my eyes are closed, I feel that I can still see the darkened room around me. Through eyelids splattered with an ever changing kaleidoscope of colours I imagine the window, the sodium glare of streetlights sieved through the loose fabric of the curtains; the dark, symmetrical hulk of the dressing table where scent bottles and hairbrushes are the only clues to my vanity; the slightly open door through which the landing light spills. I won’t open my eyes to check if I’m right. Who wants to be proved wrong? And what if, once alert and looking around I see something ‘other’? The child who feared the monster beneath her bed is never too far away.

  6. Janetyjanet says:

    A pube curls on the tile, a browning frond stands out on the fern.
    The dead moth mars the mat and an unplumped pillow does likewise to our bed.
    A dirty glass missed from the washing up frustrates, an embryonic cobweb in the corner unsettles.
    Friends compliment my impeccable house, husband sighs again and retreats to his comfy study (where I am forbidden to meddle) but such is the hold of those three little letters that the sunset must go unloved until the hoovering is complete for another day.

  7. Catdownunder says:

    Sand between my toes!

  8. Ali B says:

    Nothing sums up autumn like blackberries. The mustiness of trampled grass and willow-herb, ripe fruit winking a nettle-sting away.

    Really looking forward to Night Rainbow!


    • claire says:

      Lovely. I used to go picking blackberries with my brother on the snicket behind the house where we grew up. We would come back covered in scratches and nettle stings, but lots of fruit. Then there wiuld be a weigh-off to see who had picked most. My brother always won!

  9. admin says:

    I’m really enjoying all your lovely comments! Thank you for joining in!

  10. Julia Bohanna says:

    My two chickens are moulting and their change of personality shows just how much their confidence comes from being large, feathered, cocky creatures. They both have no tail feathers and instead of strutting, they sit down a lot, looking up at the sky. The balance of their shape is off…they are stocky, dumpy. They walk with heads down like shy schoolgirls. They also sound different -they churp like chicks and it’s plaintive, needy. From their sore looking pink pimply skin little spurs have emerged which makes them look like science fiction monsters, as if they are wearing weapons ready to strike. They go to bed early and shiver, looking at me with their sad eyes as if I can explain it to them. But I can’t. I miss their attitude, the lovely noises they make such as purrs, screams and bokity bok. As I watch them trying to eke every little bit of warmth from a sunny day, looking as if they are ashamed by their shoddy appearance, I want to tell them that it’s going to be OK..that the feathers will come out lke umbrellas from every spike on their bodies eventually and they will be more beautiful, with stronger colour….like us all after bad times…..

  11. The silence of happiness, the touch of a kind word. Walking through dusk, clouds gathering above like a rib cage. That first moment, after turning the lights out at bed time, of total darkness. That moment, on waking, before memory has cut into your life again, and you are no-one, with no baggage, no worries, no burdens, just the beauty of a single sun-beam on the ceiling.

  12. Sali Gray says:

    I see the Emperor’s nakedness.
    The gilded lies which stream seamlessly from your sensuous mouth don’t match the fleeting, flick of your eye as it struggles to fix its focus on mine. I pretend not to notice the tiny, mercurial bead of sweat forming on your temple, or the way the pitch of your voice is ever so slightly raised as you weave your web of explanation, justification, indignation; all closely interwoven; the warp and the weft of your lies and deceit. For so long, I had blindly seen our cosy coupledom as a ‘happy ever after’; enjoyed the exquisite intimacy; revelled in a heady heaven, shared with my soul-mate…. Now it is you who doesn’t see behind my smile, as inch by inch I gently feed you just enough rope.

  13. This is the sound of walking on an empty beach. I’m barefoot and the sand is damp. I sink with every footfall, a soft, muffled crush each time my heel presses into the sand. It’s like walking in snow without the creek. Seagulls screech and squabble; waves rush against rocks. And then a moment of silence. I stop moving and there is a stillness in the air; for a second there are no waves and the gulls are quiet. This is peace.

  14. Rush hour

    After dropping the children near school I’m hurrying towards work when there a dog in the middle of the carriageway. He’s a young spaniel, white with brown patches, tail down, head up, barking frantically for his owner to come, for somebody to tell him what to do.

    I brake – come to a halt.
    The car hurtling in the other direction does the same; puts on its hazard warning lights to alert other drivers. We wait – give the terrified dog lots of space.
    His owner rushes out from the wood onto the verge and now he knows where to go.

    She holds up her hand in salute as we drive off in a kind of amazed relief

  15. Really looking forward to reading The Night Rainbow Claire. Not long to wait now.


  16. Pete says:

    The lengthening and shortening of the days, about two minutes each day. An amount of time we barely notice on a day or day or weekly basis but all of a sudden it hits us that a new season is approaching and there is nothing we can do to halt its arrival.

  17. claire says:

    Your comments are all so wonderful! I’m going to leave comments open until the weekend, and then will set up a poll! Thank you for joining in 🙂

  18. BJ Walsh says:

    Back from primary school in winter to an unlit home before mother gets back. In the empty hall, the polished lino and cold damp walls are the smell of absence. Switch off the light and leave to wait for her in the safer dark of the street.

  19. D.J. Kirkby says:

    The way some food tastes really special because the smell matches the taste, and gives you a little bit of an extra hint …so you know you’re going to bite into a bit of spiced apple in a cupcake before you actually do. The anticipation is almost as important as how good it tastes!

  20. Candi Sary says:

    A friend once suggested that if you let your creative eyes take over, trees can look like great big Dr. Seuss characters. Sometimes when I’m driving, I let myself fall into the fantasy that all the trees lining the streets are from a Dr. Seuss book. With such childish perception in play, my mind might see the extremely tall, thin, good postured church lady standing just one house away from a giant green elephant. There are so many shapes and sizes, and when I play this game, I can imagine the personalities that each tree might have. There’s such diversity in nature so the characters go on and on. It makes my drive through the neighborhood magical and so much more entertaining than just keeping my eye on the dull road 🙂

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