What a year! In February, my first book, Daughter, Mother, Me; a memoir of love, loss and dirty dishes, was published. That in itself was such a dream, that I still can feel the thrill in my belly when I walked into the shop for the first time and saw it sitting on the shelf. Growing up, many of my friends dreamt of their names in lights, but I only ever dreamt of my name on the front cover of a book. It sort of happened by accident. I had submitted a novel to publisher and they loved my writing but noticed a blog I had been writing for years about my sandwich years, trapped in a tsunami of care looking after my mum and my children.
I was offered a book deal, and four frantic months of writing followed where I learned more about myself and writing than I ever thought possible. I often wonder if I hadn’t run a marathon the year before, would I have known that if you just keep going, even when you’re in pain, and crying and hate everything and eat three tonnes of chocolate that you’ll get there eventually and the pain will all be worth it? I’ve written before about the pleasure of working with editors and the thrill of watching a draft turn into a manuscript, but watching my words become a book was incredible.
Amid publicity, writing for newspapers, interviews on TV and radio, the book went onto the best seller list and my little girl self beamed in happiness as my little girl daughters ran into every book shop we passed and pointed out my book (and on more than one occasion moved it to the front shelf. Sorry Easons.)
It has now been translated into Czech and is being launched there shortly. The paperback version of my book is coming out in January – with a new title The Sandwich Years, with an added chapter. My lovely mum died on the publication date of the book that was about her, and so I have added an Afterward to bring the story up to date and bring my sandwich years to a final close.
So it was doubly thrilling when two packages arrived the other day with my new books, new version of the old, but the same thrill.
It has been such an adventure, and it keeps going. In the meantime, I have bought another three tons of chocolate as I work on another, and there are tears and pain, but so many thrills.