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Publishing a three-pronged first novel

5 June 2015

‘In talking to other writers and getting a bit older and realising how it works, (I discovered) that the gestation period for a new book is very tender - it's like a new shoot, you can't expose it to the light too quickly or it might wither. You'll lose the impetus, you'll lose the belief in it.'

I am not a massively meticulous planner, but I needed to know roughly how the three versions differentiated and also because, at that stage, I was clear that I didn't want them to be wildly different. I didn't want Eva to become a lion tamer in one and a banker in another. Realism is what I prize most in fiction, and I didn't want it to appear outlandishly different.

It's an incredible feeling, it is hard to describe. It is sort of like you have taken a section of your brain apart and handed it to someone you don't even knows... that it is something they can relate to , and that it can speak to them and move them. That is more than I can ever really have hoped for. It feels amazing.'

Laura Barnett, whose three-pronged first novel, The Versions of Us has sold in 18 countries, in the Bookseller