As the press releases are now going out, it’s about time I made the official announcement. My book, The Perfume Lover, will be published by HarperCollins UK on March 15th, 2012. You can already pre-order it on Amazon (click for the link), so even if you don’t live in the UK, it’ll be easily available.
Meanwhile, because March is still a long time off, here’s an excerpt from the first pages. This is the story that starts it all...
I am in Seville, standing under a bitter orange tree in full bloom in the arms of Román, the black-clad Spanish boy who is not yet my lover. Since sundown, we’ve been watching the religious brotherhoods in their pointed caps and habits thread their way across the old Moorish town in the wake of gilded wood floats bearing statues of Christ and the Virgin Mary. This is the Madrugada, the longest night of Holy Week, and the whole city has poured into the streets: the processions will go on until the dawn sky is streaked with hunting swallows. In the tiny white-washed plaza in front of the church, wafts of lavender cologne rise from the tightly pressed bodies. As altar boys swing their censers, throat-stinging clouds of sizzling resins – humanity’s millennia-old message to the gods – cut through the fatty honeyed smell of the penitents’ beeswax candles.
Under the silver-embroidered velvet of her dais, the Madonna, crystal tears on her cheek, tilts her head towards the spicy white lilies and carnations tumbling from her float. She is being carried into the golden whorls of a baroque chapel, smoothly manoeuvred in and out, in and out, in and out – they say the bearers get erections as they do this – while Román’s hand runs down my black lace shift and up my thigh to tangle with my garter-belt straps. His breath on my neck smells of blond tobacco and the manzanilla wine we’ve been drinking all night – here in Seville, Holy Week is a pagan celebration: resurrection is a foregone conclusion and there is no need to mourn or repent. As the crowd shifts to catch a last sight of the float before the chapel doors shut behind it, the church exhales a cold old-stone gust. I am in the pulsing, molten-gold heart of Seville, thrust into her fragrant flesh, and there is no need for Román to take me to bed at dawn: he’s already given me the night.