Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Here it is! Woooooooo-hoooooo!
So here it is: my very first novel – all wintry-looking and sparkly and truly amazing!
Fairytale of New York is now, after so many years of just being a big Word document on my computer, a real tangible thing.
Like any writer, I dreamed about the day I would receive the first, printed copy of my novel. Being the completely hopeless romantic that I am, the image I always had was something like the scene in Little Women where Jo receives a gorgeous, gold-embossed leather edition of her work… Of course, it didn’t happen like that: in my case it was an innocuous-looking envelope handed to me by a rather gruff FedEx guy, who, when I told him excitedly that it was the very first copy of my debut novel, responded with a non-plussed, ‘Oh, right,’ before beating a hasty retreat… It’s going to sound odd, but I honestly couldn’t open the package for about five minutes… I just sat on my sofa, staring at it. I think I’d always pictured myself ripping open the envelope and screaming, crying, running round the room and generally looking like a completely deranged individual. But when it actually happened, it was a really quiet, beautiful moment. I took this photo as I was opening the package: the whole thing felt so surreal that I wanted to preserve the ‘first-look’ for a time when I was less overawed by it all. For a long time, I just stared at my book – my book – turning it over and over in my hands. The thing that struck me the most straight away was the wonderful ‘new book’ smell – something so familiar to a bookaholic like me, yet so completely strange to be accompanying my words…
That’s another thing: not only does it have my name on it, but it also has my words inside it! Again, a totally obvious thing to say, but it’s a very odd feeling to hold a book in your hands where you know exactly what’s written on every single page. Even when I’ve bought new editions of books I’ve read before, I haven’t been able to say that I know every line of it.
It’s taken me a few days to get my head around it – I finally did the whole jiggly victory dance thing yesterday, actually! I know that when I walk into my favourite bookshop in less than two weeks’ time and see Fairytale on the shelves, that’s when I’m likely to do the whole screaming, jumping up and down, girly crying thing (perhaps someone should warn Waterstones in New Street, Birmingham that a crazy writer is due to descend on them on November 12th!) Bob’s going to come with me (he’s taken the day off work, bless him!), so at least he can smile ruefully at the startled staff and customers and say, ‘It’s OK – she’s just a writer,’ to allay their fears…
A couple of days ago, I started getting emails from friends who had preordered their copies on Amazon, to say that their books had arrived, which was a bit of a shock as I’d assumed all books would be sent out on P-Day, but incredibly exciting nevertheless. The whole prospect of people reading my book fills me with a heady mixture of intense curiosity about what they’ll think of it and complete dread at the thought of my friends and family finally getting to read something that was ‘my little chick-lit story’ for so many years.
Like so often throughout my big scary adventure in publishing, this stage is completely different to the way I’d always envisaged it – but it’s a good different, not a disappointing different! Fairytale has been such a massive part of my life for so long - especially during this year – so reaching the run-up to P-Day feels like a relief in many ways, but also the start of a whole new chapter (pardon the pun) for me. Once my book hits the shelves, the whole process starts again with Welcome to My World – which means that, finally, I will be able to see myself as a ‘proper author’, instead of a completely wide-eyed newbie (although I think I will always feel like that!)
So now the final push starts to P-Day… I’ve written a travel article for The Sunday Telegraph (strange, but true), which will be out on November 22nd, and have done a couple of interviews for book sites www.chicklitreviews.com and www.chicklitclub.com which should be appearing soon. On Monday, I went down to London to take part in a presentation the fabulous Authonomy team were doing at HarperCollins Towers, which went really well, and I also did a live radio interview from the BBC, weirdly for Radio Shropshire!
People all over the place have started receiving their pre-ordered copies of Fairytale of New York and it's been spotted lurking on the shelves of WHSmith already... eeeek!
One thing's for sure: this crazy publishing trip is only going to get more exciting!