One day while walking my dog in the forest, I had an idea to tell the story of four women on a particular day in history. The date I had in mind was February 1st, 1959, and the setting was to be Switzerland. The result is my first novel, Voting Day, which will be published next February in the three official Swiss national languages (German, French and Italian) and English.
The vote in question was a referendum on female suffrage, rejected by male voters on that cold, foggy Sunday. Swiss women eventually gained voting rights 12 years later in 1971 so we’ll be celebrating the 50th anniversary next year.
From early morning until last thing at night, Voting Day tells the story of four very different women whose lives are connected by the fate of a foster child. While the men go out to vote, these women have other things on their minds, mostly.
Vreni is a farmer’s wife and foster mother in her late forties whose life has shrunk to the confines of the farm and village. Her daughter Margrit seems to have found success as an office girl in Bern but her boss has put her in an impossible position.
Esther is a Yenish woman, one of the native travelling people of Switzerland. Taken from her family as a child, she now works as a hospital cleaner. When her own son Ruedi is taken into care, the future looks bleak.
Beatrice has made a good career as the hospital administrator. She dreads the prospect of a no vote after putting her heart and soul into the yes campaign. But could she hold the key to reuniting Esther with Ruedi?
It was clear to me when I started writing Voting Day that it really should reach Swiss readers, but I didn’t know how I could achieve this. How could I find one Swiss publisher willing to arrange the translation of the book, let alone three? What to do with the English version?
Luckily a sponsor came on board who was willing to pay for the translations. That brought my dream much closer to reality. With the help of a local company in Fribourg, I began to put together an ambitious self-publishing project with a simultaneous launch in the four languages planned for next February.
Publishing has become more and more challenging and often loss-making for authors. I want to find a way around that. The German translation is complete and the French and Italian are under way. The publishing costs are adding up but everything is moving in the right direction.
In November I will launch a crowdfunding campaign and continue seeking other kinds of funding. I’ve already received a lot of moral and practical support. My characters – Vreni, Margrit, Esther and Beatrice – are my inspiration.
From now on, I’ll be writing regular updates on the progress of Voting Day, and I hope you’ll enjoy hearing about it. I can already share the first interview (in German) with skippr.ch about the German version, Der Tag, an dem die Männer Nein sagten.
Book bloggers and journalists, please get in touch through my contact page if you would like to receive a review copy in one of the languages.
12 thoughts on “Introducing my first novel, Voting Day”
Hi Clare, What a great achievement getting this book published, I am so happy for your success. Your drive and determination are so inspiring. Your daughters have a great role model in you. I look forward to reading more. Have a lovely day Sonya
Hi Sonya, what a kind, generous thing to say. I will definitely have a lovely day now! 🙂
Clare, I’m so excited you’re publishing your first novel and would love to help get the word out. Those themes of social justice and women’s lives are close to my heart.
Thank you so much, Anne! It’s great to have you in my corner. I’d love for you to review the book. And thanks for sharing on Twitter x
Mir hat Clare O’Deas Roman von der ersten Zeile an gefallen! Ich bin begeistert von ihrer Idee, von den vier Frauen, die sie so lebendig beschreibt und die ich ins Herz geschlossen habe, als hätte ich sie persönlich gekannt. Und ich habe die Ehre und Freude gehabt, “Voting Day” ins Deutsche übersetzen zu dürfen. Das mutige Projekt, ein wichtiger Beitrag zur Geschichte der Frauen in der Schweiz, verdient Aufmerksamkeit, Unterstützung und – hoffentlich – den verdienten Erfolg! Gerade die jüngeren Frauen haben oft keine Ahnung mehr, was ihre Mütter und Grossmütter Mitte des 20. Jahrhunderts erlebt haben und wie sie um die Gleichberechtigung kämpfen mussten. Die Autorin wirft einen eigenen, unbestechlichen Blick auf unser Land, aber sie tut dies mit Wärme, Charme und Liebe zu ihrer zweiten Heimat, nie polemisch. Thanks, dear Clare!
Honestly, Barbara, you are a treasure! You’ve given me so much support and faith in my writing. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work with such a talented translator and writer. You’ve done an amazing job. It’s going to be an exciting few months!
Hi Clare, I’ve just readed your message. I’m happy about it, I’m sure this will be a beautiful novel. I don’t uderstand if something is requested by my side 🙂 Anyway, I’m ready to buy the book, when available. I think I will choose the english version …
Hi Giacomo, thanks for your encouragement. It’s so nice of you to comment. If you’d like to order a copy of the book in advance, that will be possible through the crowdfunding in a couple of weeks. Otherwise, you’ll be able to buy the book in February when it’s in the shops or online.
Quand j’ai eu « Voting Day » entre les mains, je n’ai plus pu le lâcher jusqu’à la dernière page. Ces quatre destins de femmes qui s’entrecroisent à des moments clés créent une tension tout au long du livre, tension renforcée par la (re)découverte de la condition féminine de cette époque pas si lointaine… C’est donc avec joie que je suis en train de traduire en français le premier roman de cette Helvéto-Irlandaise de talent. Bravo et merci Clare !
Merci mille fois, Corinne! Je suis ravie d’avoir ton soutien et de lire ton commentaire tellement positif sur le livre. C’est un grand plaisir de collaborer avec toi. Bon travail!
Am looking forward to read this novel.
I really enjoyed your two books, The Naked Swiss and The Naked Irish and most definitely will purchase your new book.
Great achievement and congratulations.
Härzligi Grüessli vo Irland🍀
Ah, Markus! Glad you discovered the new book. I hope you find it a faithful depiction of Switzerland. A lieba Gruss vo Freiburg.