Yesterday, I received the preorder links for Knife Edge from Joffe Books. You’d think that by now, more than eight months after they offered me a contract to publish my books, I’d have become accustomed to the idea.
In some ways, I have. Writing is not just a pleasurable hobby these days but a job, and I can say to people, “Sorry, no. I’m working today,” then hide away and write. Without the guilt!
However, my emotions when the email came through from Nina caught me on the back foot. Knowing that Knife Edge will one day be published has been a warm glow I’ve been nursing inside me for all this time, but seeing it up there on the Amazon website in all the glory of the wonderful cover that Joffe Books commissioned, absolutely terrified me.
As of yesterday, people were able buy the book. In 26 days from today, it will start to appear on their Kindles and phones and tablets, and then they’ll read it. And then they’ll learn what darkness hides inside me. Because people think I’m nice, and I’m really not.
And all my friends and family are buying it. Their faith in me makes me smile, but then the smile falters. What if they hate what they read? What if they turn away from me, knowing I’m a person capable of writing about such terrible acts?
It’s a bit like waving off your first child to school. You’re willing them to soar and succeed; to be popular, sporty, academic, kind, loved, and all the time you’re dreading that they might be bullied by the bigger kids (or worse still, be the bully). You worry that their brilliance, that spark you think you see in them and that their gran swears is there, won’t be recognised by others. And of course, if they put clingfilm across the toilet bowl or tie someone’s plaits to the back of the bus seat, everyone will turn to look at you and say, “You’re the parent. You’re responsible for this… this… abomination.”
My little book is out there now. It’s gone beyond the point of no return. It’s on its own. It will have to stand on its own feet because all the edits and proofreading are over. And that is what terrifies me.
But instead of dwelling on it I’m going to go on writing, because until the axe falls, I can still dream that it will be a success. The next book, Small Bones, is well through the editing process already and will be released soon after Knife Edge, but the baby of the family, Close Hauled, is still unfinished. So I’ll bury myself in writing it, and pray that its eldest sibling behaves itself out there in the big, wide world because whatever it does, bad or good, will inevitably reflect on the rest of the family. What a responsibility. Poor little book.