Monday, February 1, 2016

An end, and a beginning...

On Friday afternoon, I set down my fountain pen for the last time on the manuscript of WAIT FOR ME. I placed the lid carefully back onto the ink-pot, blotted the vellum, and sat back in my chair, lifting a glass of claret into the air to toast the end of my revisions.

Okay, not really. I crashed the last few changes onto my keyboard, prayed the formatting gremlin that's been plaguing the file for weeks had taken the afternoon off, banged out a quick email to Editor Alice to say, "Here you go, I'm done with it!" and raced out to the car with thirty seconds to spare to make it to school for pick-up.

But whichever was the truth, Friday afternoon brought me to the end of a very long journey with WAIT FOR ME. The story that started seven years ago with a chance remark by my friend, Angharad, which then became my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) project two years later, is now only a spit away from sitting on a bookshelf.

So yes, the end of a very long journey. But also the beginning of another one, not only for this story but for me as a writer too. My agent asked me just recently where I thought my career would be in five or ten years' time. The question startled me because only a few weeks ago, I was waving an unsold book over my head and now, apparently, I have a writing career. Imagine that!

I have been so lucky, to have had great writing buddies by my side, first Mike and now Penny, an incredibly supportive critique group too, and more recently, to have found a wonderful editor in Alice at Harper Teen, and then great agents, Danielle and Suzie at New Leaf Literary. So if you are a writer, standing with an unsold book in your hand, desperately waving it around hoping that someone will spot you, I'd suggest you keep on waving! You might only be seconds away from the end of this story and the beginning of the next.

But I'm realizing that publishing is a very long road to wander along, so perhaps I was wrong to say that one journey has ended for me and another has begun.

Perhaps on Friday, I simply walked past another mile-marker on my own long road.