Yesterday I signed a publishing contract with New Zealand Publisher Cloud Ink Press. My debut novel will be launched in February 2022.
A friend asked me how I felt (which I thought was rather lovely – most people offered their congratulations, which was fantastic and expected, but this friend, perhaps aware that signing a publishing contract can be emotional and a little scary as well as tremendously exciting, wanted to know how I was feeling).
This is how I answered him:
“It feels at once surreal and completely “right” – I’ve been working for this for years and helping all my clients get their novels published…and finally it’s my turn. I’m really excited to share the book with readers now. I hope it means something to them.”
Now, this is all true – but it’s only part of the story.
I tweeted this morning:
“Finally having a novel published after years of quiet work is wonderful but also surreal and scary. It’s OK to feel it all.”
A fellow author immediately retweeted it. I’m glad it resonated.
For someone who has been writing for years and years, having short pieces published here and there, being commended and coming runner-up in a few writing competitions, blogging regularly, and building a career around words and language and editing and storytelling, this has been a while coming. I worked on this novel for years – more than ten – and I suspect part of the reason for the delay in just getting the fecking thing written was fear. Will it be good enough? Will people want to read it? When I finally submit it to publishers, will I be turned down again and again? Can I even finish a novel? I think I was scared to discover the answers to these questions.
Also, plain and simple, writing a book is HARD. I took many breaks. Some of those breaks lasted long enough to grab a coffee. Others lasted for a few months. One particular break took me right through to Christmas 2016.
But you know what? I kept coming back, and back, and back. I was drawn to my story over and over, repeatedly falling in love with my characters and the plot and the way I felt writing it when I hit that sweet spot – when the words flowed and the story practically told itself and I would periodically cry, or jump up and punch the air (and scare the cat), or laugh out loud.
And I’m bloody stubborn, so there’s that.
Yup, I’m scared. But actually, not so much anymore. This book holds my heart, and I love it, and I’m so very proud to see it published, and I know some people will love it and some will think it’s mediocre or a pile of shite and…that’s OK. I can handle all of that now, and perhaps that’s why this fantastic, infuriating, fun, difficult journey has taken so long.
I’m ready now, and only now, to open the door on this book and invite the world in.
I’m not going to say much more about the novel right now. Once publicity kicks in later in the year you’ll be hearing about it again. In the meantime, keep following me for updates on my writing, and to read thoughts/advice/meditations on stories and the writing process and the power of storytelling.