All quiet on the bookish front?

It’s been three weeks since the book came out. I had to just sit down and work that out, and I’m surprised it’s gone so quickly. Three weeks of published authordom!

It’s been pretty good so far. I’ve only seen the book in one shop, but that was a good moment. It’s been reviewed in several national papers and magazines, and I hear it’s sold out in my hometown. Apart from that, I’m waiting to hear back from my editor about Book 2, and girding myself for the mountain of work that probably needs done on that. These little lulls between edits are a nice time – a chance to breathe. Or, if you’re me, a chance to start worrying about your next-next book, and then your next-next-next book, and whether you should also be writing plays/films/short stories, or copy for cereal boxes.

This is a fairly boring post, as I’m still trying to wrap my head round the book actually being out there. The reviews and responses so far have been great, so a huge thank you to everyone who’s read it.

I’ll just flag up a couple of events that are happening this year, which may interest you if you’re a reader and/or aspiring writer.

I’ll be appearing on two panels at Crimefest in Bristol – a brilliant crime convention for fans and writers alike.

Some other writing events I’ve attended in the past and found very helpful are the one-day courses run by the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, and the weekend-long Festival of Writing, which is in September this year. Both definitely worth a look. Maybe see you there!

The Hangover

So what was it like to have the launch party? Answer: it was BRILLIANT. So many people, so much love, so much wine….It carried on to midnight and I don’t think I was the only one wincing the next day. Massive thanks to Headline and to the lovely Goldsboro Books for hosting it. (Sorry we didn’t leave until 9.30).

This picture of the steamed-up window was taken by fab writer Alex Preston, but I hope he won't mind me using it.

When I arrived at the shop, the first thing I saw was a window full of ME. ME ME ME ME ME. It was all about ME. The kind of thing you dream about.

Lots of people started arriving then – including my mum! – and it was a bizarre yet lovely mix of friends, writers, publishing types, family, and new acquaintances. I of course didn’t get to talk to everyone properly but I think I at least said hello.

Next I had to do a speech, after I was introduced by my editor Ali (to my left in the next picture). Hilariously, they had a step for us to stand on, which was good as I’m only 5’3 and I need a step to get in the high cupboards at home. I tried to remember to thank everyone and there was laughter and I’m told some tears.

Then, more wine, more mingling, more book signing (God alone knows what I wrote on them – definitely that I loved a lot of people). Finally to the pub for more drinks. The night grew blurry. I missed my last train. Next morning at 8am my mother (who’d been just as drunk as me) was texting me, bright and cheery. The woman never gets hangovers.

Thanks everyone for all your support. It really was a great night.

Chatting to some of my lovely friends and Ed from my agency, as blurriness sets in...

The Party Line

When I started out writing, I dreamed of many things. Award acceptance speeches. Being on Richard and Judy. Seeing someone read my book on the tube (hopefully not going ‘this is a god-awful pile of tripe’). Last Friday I saw the book in a shop, on a shelf, in WH Smith’s. ‘I wrote that!’ I said to the nice man behind the counter. ‘Oh,’ he said, as he scanned in cut-price chocolate bars. ‘That’s nice.’

And, of course, the book launch.

Until this year, my experience of The Book Launch was limited to Bridget Jones. I thought this was how launches were. How I dreamed of asking Salman Rushdie if he knew where the toilet was, and someone introducing me by shouting ‘Oi!’ into a microphone. Now, my book launch is tomorrow. In fact I should be thinking of what to say instead of writing this. But I’m not worried. I will just follow the rules of parties, as espoused by the aforementioned Bridget.

  1. First, look gorgeous. CHECK. Got my dress ordered ages ago. Got my hair appointment booked. POTENTIAL RISKS: having to wear wellies as unable to walk over ice and snow in high heels, as unable to walk in high heels at the best of times.
  2. Totally ignore Daniel and suck up to famous authors: CHECK. I don’t think anyone called Daniel is coming so that should be fine. Maybe a Danny. POTENTIAL RISKS: I’m not very good at talking to people I admire. I have a tendency to wave my hands a lot, sometimes sloshing wine all over them, and tell them stories about how I first came to read their book, until they start nervously eyeing over my shoulder. Or else I get so starstruck I just stand behind them pointing.
  3. Circulate, oozing intelligence: ‘Did you read this week’s Heat magazine? What’s your take on 2012 as the year of the celebrity marriage apocalypse? I’m just so gutted about Seal and Heidi.’ Er….maybe not. Is there still something going on in Chechnya?
  4. Introduce people with helpful details. This is where my encyclopaedic knowledge of other people’s ages, previous jobs, and bibliography will truly come into its own. It’s a useful side effect of constantly comparing yourself to other people.

But really none of these things matter. Maybe I’ll invent my own personal party rules. Feel free to quote me.

  1. Try not to get too drunk. You’re aiming for drunk enough that you feel relaxed and confident (anywhere between no drinks and twenty drinks, depending on the person), but not so drunk you can’t remember entire conversations. Apart from anything else, it is a waste of valuable networking time.
  2. Try to make one more friend than you had before.
  3. Always wear shoes you can run for a train in.
  4. Always remember the time of the last train. Tattoo it on your head if needs be.
  5. The ideal after-party feeling is 10% sheepishness, 20% glad someone else was more embarrassing than you, 10% useful networking, and 60% fun/hangover.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Hopefully something like this.