There’s a weird sense of anti-climax when your book finally makes it out into the universe. In many ways it’s like having a baby – all those months of planning, secret excitement when you don’t want to tell people too much, your friends’ thrilled faces when they hear the news – and then the moment when it stops being just yours and becomes part of the real world.
For me it’s been a two-stage process. Firstly the Kindle version came out a fortnight(!) ago and then I had to undergo a painful process of reformatting text for the paperback and finalising the cover. It’s been a long stretch from when I first started writing it to the moment of uploading the paperback… finally it’s finished and the lion’s share of the work is done.
From now on I can spend time promoting The Fortnight and encouraging people to write reviews, but the actual creative process is well and truly over. Half of me wants to start the next book straight away while the other half is desperate for a period of rest with no pressure to write, proofread or decipher Amazon’s complicated instructions for self-publication.
So I’m in a weird sort of limbo: waiting for reactions to the novel and for reviews to appear, hoping that my readers like it. I have faith in it – as with Landsliding, every time I look at it afresh I find aspects of the story gripping despite knowing it almost off by heart – and I think the paperback cover looks fantastic (thanks to photographer Rhys and designer Sammi!)
In these strangely formless days of post-publication I could start thinking about Christmas (will there be one?) or I could get fit (I’m going to the gym on alternate days and feel virtuous if not much slimmer) or, preferably, I could just chill out and do very little.
The trouble is, I love the discipline of writing – and I think I need it. It’s kind of addictive. At the peak of my immersion in The Fortnight I was getting up at 6am to write for an hour before showering and getting ready for the working day. As soon as I could I’d be writing again, desperate to see what my characters did next… and during lockdown it provided vital structure to my days and my weekends.
So I’m unsure whether NOT writing is even an option. It brings me pleasure, it absorbs me and it offers a strange sort of distraction from all the weirdness going on in the outside world at the moment.
Starting another book straight away is tempting but also feels a bit disloyal – rather like starting a new relationship too soon after the last one has ended. I want to give The Fortnight its day in the sun before I start the next novel and I’ve also got to decide which of two options to go for. There’s one story I’ve already started and another I’m interested in developing – so which will it be?
It’s pretty intense and exhausting writing a book; a massive commitment. Several times during the creation of Landsliding and The Fortnight I’ve thought ‘Never again’… but I know I won’t stop here.
Without any doubt I need my writing fix, so now it’s just a question of how long I wait before starting the next novel!