Bloomsbury digital editor Helen Young is launching a crowdfunding campaign to fund her latest novel, Breakfast in Bogotá, with Unbound.
Set in "pre-Narcos" 1940s Colombia, the book is about a broken British architect who, ashamed of the role he played in the Second World War, has come to Bogotá to try and build something new. What he doesn't realise is that Colombia is on the brink of civil war and once again his loyatlies are about to be tested.
Young, whose own husband is Colombian, said the reason she wrote the story was "to blow the lid off ugly stereotypes", countering narratives focused solely on Colombia's history of drugs and violence. Instead - although the book's narrative builds up to the events of the 1948 assassination of the Liberal leader, Gaitán, on the capital's streets - Young said she intended to show how Colombia was before, "a progressive country with a capital city, Bogotá, to rival any seen in Europe. A city that was rare and beautiful and still is".
"Friends and colleagues I’ve spoken to about the book are excited to be able to read something new – they’re ready for a different narrative and are interested to know that the story didn’t start with 'Narcos' and the drug cartels," said Young. "It's fantastic [Unbound has taken it on] and I'm really looking forward to it."
The Unbound campaign will launch later this month, with a target of between £4,000 and £5,000 and the intention of publishing the book in Spring or early Summer 2019. While the page is not yet live, those interested can keep abreast of updates by following Young on Twitter at @helenireneyoung.
Phil Connor, commissioning editor at Unbound, commented: "We couldn't be happier to be working with Helen on Breakfast in Bogotá. Weaving together fact and fiction, it's a dazzling story set in the riots following the assassination of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán. 1940s Colombia comes to life in these pages and we're sure readers are going to love it."
Young, formerly a Waterstones bookseller and journalist, has been the website editor for Bloomsbury for the past three years. She now works part-time as a web content specialist and editor for Bloomsbury in addition to her writing career. A graduate of the Faber Novel Writing Programme, her debut was The May Queen, a historical novel set between the Cotswolds and London in the 1930s and 40s that was published by independent press Crooked Cat last year. Breakfast in Bogota will be her second novel.