A parcel arrived on Saturday. Mr S brought it upstairs as I was still lazing in bed, pretending morning wasn’t happening. ‘You might want to open this one,’ he said. (I am notorious for not opening post, and just leaving it stashed in piles around the house until Mr S shouts, and threatens to hide the plum jam until I deal with it).
I tore open the package and took out the first bound copies of Mr Rosenblum’s List. Jocasta has had advanced reading copies printed for the friends and family of Sceptre. They have little postcards glued on the back, for the readers (mums, sisters, aunties of the lovely people at Sceptre) to send back to Jocasta. Hopefully they will say nice things, and not ‘this book is rubbish’…
I put the book on the shelf in the living room next to real books by proper authors. It feels very strange – like, it was written by someone else. My story exists on my harddrive in a tangled word document, covered in scrawls and notes. This neatly bound object with actual paper pages can’t possibly be written by me.
It’s also very odd, because as Mr R edges closer towards being a finished hardback book, I am leaving Jack and Sadie to continue on their adventures, while I move onto book 2. I’ve been feeling really quite anxious about it. I think my friend Laura sensed this, (she works at Hodder and knows lots of writers, so I think she’s developed a kind of writer-paranoia sixth sense) and she sent me the link to John Connolly’s blog. For those of you who don’t know, John Connolly is a brilliant and bestselling author of twelve novels. He is one of those writers who are both revered by critics and adored by reades. Yet, as I read his post on starting his latest novel, he describes the initial panic, ‘This new book will be my undoing. This is the book too far, the one that will expose me for the fraud that I am.’ I can’t tell you how much comfort it gives me, that even a writer like John Connolly feels like this. On second thoughts, maybe I should despair, as it means this fear never gets better.
Perhaps I am being disingenuous – the truth is I need the knot in my stomach, the ripples of self-doubt. It’s also part of the excitment of starting something new and not knowing quite what will happen. Adventures, when you already know how everything will turn out, aren’t really adventures after all.
John Connolly’s blog is at: http://www.johnconnollybooks.com/blogger.html
Mr S and I have been out wandering in the fields, mulling stories. It was particularly beautiful at the top of Bulbarrow, down towards the ice drove. The sun beat down on the corn fields and the poppies shone crimson against gold, and in the distance the shadow of the hill…