And our next question is…

It’s been nearly a month since He’s Gone was published. You’d have thought the novelty would have worn off by now but it hasn’t. People I know (at work, in particular) are still coming up to me and saying ‘Congratulations’. This is both sweet and reassuring because I thought I had talked of nothing else for months and in danger of becoming a bore.

People are still asking lots of questions/ comments but their focus has changed. Here are the top ones, in no particular order.

Are you pleased?‘ Pleased, no. Delighted, ecstatic, delirious, yes. At the moment, I look like this…



Stone fountain head with big teeth and horns

Do you read the reviews?’ – I do, I’m grateful anyone bothers and have been consistently amazed by the positive things people have said.

How are the sales?’ I don’t begrudge this one. It’s a question I keep asking. The simple answer is, I don’t know. Yes I can look at an Amazon ranking but that doesn’t tell you much. No paperback figures will be in for at least another month. So in the meantime, that tapping noise is my fingernails.

Are you making lots of money?‘ I guess this is really the same question as the one above. I refer them to the Society of Authors survey that said the average pay of full-time writers is around £6000 per year.

I’ve just got to the bit where…don’t tell me what happens next.’ There is no chance of this, ever. The face I pulled will not be an indication of what is to come but is a reflection of how difficult that section was to write.

I suppose you’ll be giving up work?‘ This from people at work – hmm, maybe I have been a bit of a bore…


It’s not what you know…

This week I hosted a soirée, darlings, a positive literary salon. OK, I got some work mates together with some wine and crisps. The purpose of the evening was to thank them all for being, well, wonderful about having a writer in their midst.

Being a writer can mean many things but it also means you want to talk about writing, whether it’s trying to fill a plot hole or whether or not to stick in a prologue (don’t). You naturally  seek out other writers because only they understand what you are going through, struggling to find the right way to express something or suffering the umpteenth rejection. We also talk about people in great detail, then, when someone is wondering whether they have met them, admit they are fictional. In short, we can be pretty boring.

And yet, over the last two years as I have struggled with my editing and then finding a home for He’s Gone, my work colleagues have been a constant source of support. They asked about progress, they made encouraging noises after yet another rejection and have been generous with their congratulations when the book was published. And as if that wasn’t enough, some of them bought the book as well. So I do think it’s not what you know, it’s who because when you are surrounded by positive people who are happy to celebrate success, life gets a whole lot easier…

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More reflections of a newly-published author…

So, the book came out nearly a week ago. Since then, I have been able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, am able to play all of Beethoven’s piano concertos (with one hand) and have become irresistible to both sexes. Well, almost…

Things they don’t tell you about being published:

  1. The urge to constantly check Amazon, Goodreads and other places where they put reviews. I’m under control here – I’ve got it down to only every five minutes.
  2. The sense of responsibility. Some people I know don’t have very much money and they have gone and bought my book. Other people I know have no time and they’ve also gone and bought my book. What if they feel it is a waste of either?
  3. The feeling that I should be doing something. Yes, I’m writing book two but there is a sense I should be doing much more, rather than letting the experience of those who have done this keep the plan steady.
  4. The envy. Yes, OK, I thought I was better than this. I was published the day after JK Rowling’s The Cursed Child and three days after another very popular crime author’s much-anticipated second book. Both of these immediately went into the best-seller lists. I haven’t (see also point 1).

I found the best way to combat these is to enjoy the rare sunny weekend and sit in the garden with an ice-cream. If you can’t beat them, don’t beat yourself up…


Half-finished soft drink and empty ice cream dish


Reflections on a busy day…

So today, my book was published. I have taken the day off from work and lived the life of an author. Picture me, floating around in silk pyjamas, with a cigarette in an amber holder. Shortly, I will rise from my chaise longue, put on a gown and go to a cocktail party, where I shall have erudite exchanges with men with elaborate moustaches.

Who am I kidding? I had a bit of a lie in (bliss in itself) and spent the day marvelling at just how nice people are. From all of the people who have taken the time to review the book, from the people I know who have been kind enough to pre-order and are now chafing (quite justifiably) at the delay and all those other people who have chipped in in some way.

It does give you a feel of responsibility.

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Close up of a pensive bronze face

I’ve now got to deliver the second book, now with the additional expectations of the first. I’ve also got to face all the people who ordered it and listen to their opinions. It’s always so much easier to be enthusiastic about a potential rather than an actuality. But, when I think about what I went through to get here, I think I’ll work it out…