My new novel: ‘The Silk Weaver’s Wife’ was published yesterday. As usual, the ‘launch’ was a mixed bag of excitement and anxiety as far as I was concerned! Friends and colleagues are always so encouraging and post lovely messages – ‘I hope you’re doing something lovely to celebrate’, or ‘have a great day!’. It’s all well meant, and presumably some author, somewhere, actually experiences this sensation of unbridled joy. But I’ve never actually met them!
All writers, I think, share an almost pathological sense of fear when their latest work is revealed, finally, to the reading public. It’s hard enough in the early stages of creation to show it to your editor. That feels like the ultimate ‘exposure’. But to release it – like a toddler – into the world is just frankly scary.
So – the worse is over, a few nice reviews have been posted, and now starts the writer’s other secret torture – checking the sales rankings. This ultimately soul-destroying activity has become less alluring to me since I began to be published. My first novel was checked on constantly – like an anxious mother peering into her baby’s cot to see if the offspring was still breathing. By book two I was a little more sanguine and relaxed. This time around I feel like an old hand. Rankings – like financial investments – can go up as well as down… so stay calm and carry on!
The carrying on involves researching my next book which I’m pleased to announce is proving a fascinating process. Perhaps the research phase is the best part of being a writer of historical fiction. You can read, write lists of time-lines and facts; you can begin to flesh out your storyline; you can start to put a little flesh on the bones of your characters too. It’s all still to play for. There’s no imminent risk of a negative comment to disturb your vision. Once the research phase is over, the real work begins – when you start to put pen to paper, or more accurately, fingers to keyboard. As I said to my sister this summer – the first 30,000 words are the worst….
In the meantime – ‘The Silk Weaver’s Wife’ is out now on Amazon, iBookstore, Kobo & Google Play