Dear Readers, it is with unmitigated delight that I share with you this tremendous news: my first novel will be published here in the UK on 4 May. The Last Wave, as it’s called, is a love story to the sea, and follows the life of one woman in particular, Martha, as she goes from her first swim to her last. In fact tonight, I’m having my first ever book launch, so if you’re in the greater Bristol area, pop along, it’s at Spike Island from 6.30pm.
So for me, as I’m sure it is with most debut novelists, this is a moment I’ve been dreaming of and imagining for a while. And by a while I mean the last twenty years. Truly. Maybe more. Hard to say. But this moment in my life is ranked higher than a wedding, the birth of a child, and my own death as far as stand-out moments go. And, I’ve been imagining it the way some of my girlfriends imagined their own weddings. I have planned it out, hosted it in a variety of locations, the cast of characters is revolving and generally features heavily whoever it is that I’ve been spending a lot of time with lately. But, one of the few consistents have been The Mom, L’il Sis and Crazy D, they’ve always been there because of course they have. Where else would they bloody be?
Well, sadly, this time they’re going to be at home. Because even I balk at spending $850 per person on return flights just to come along for a couple of hours and watch me blether on about my book (which, in fairness they’ve been hearing me blether on about for several years now), have a few drinks, and then call it a day. I suppose they could’ve made a holiday of it, but the April weather in the UK isn’t really selling it. And anyhow, the book is coming out in Canada and the States on 26 August, so maybe we can do something when I’m home in summer.
And I suppose, in some ways, maybe it’s better that I have my debut as Promising New Novelist without my family – not that I don’t love them, but… well, we do have a tendency to egg one another on.
I can just picture it…
The Mom would turn up looking as though she were going to the Academy Awards via a meeting with The Queen. Quaffing a never-ending glass of wine as she went, she’d be heckling any hint of modesty from me.
If I were asked, say, how it is that I managed to get published, and replied with something along the lines of good fortune, The Mom would stand up and shout (in a small room):
“Like hell! That was three university degrees, paid for generously by your mother, and twenty years of hard work! Pfft, when you lived with me you’d hardly leave your room because you were writing.”
L’il Sis, who would obviously have brought her dog along with, would be in the back, shouting as though she were at a rock concert at each answer.
And Crazy D would probably be recording it all, for posterity, or rather more accurately, something for me to look at in the cold light of day and perhaps reconsider my life choices.
Obviously they would be delighted and as supportive as they always have been, which is the most supportive ever. I mean, when your little brother cycles over to his local Chapters and puts a picture of your book under the award Winning Fiction section, you know you’ve got fans.
Indeed, L’il Sis has proclaimed that she fully intends to go to every bookshop in Toronto and put my book front and centre. I haven’t the heart to tell her the booksellers won’t care for that… anyhow, if she goes with the dog it’ll probably be alright. The dog’s face can be arranged in such a way that it is impossible to say no to him. I believe he and the cat practise together each night.
Anyhow, it’s a strange thing having your dreams come true. Which is what’s happened, make no mistake. My life long dream of being a published novelist has finally, actually, truly come true. That’s a strange thing, isn’t it? How many people can say that, that their dreams have come true? I hope everyone can, but you know, I read the papers like everyone else. Still, it’s a bit of a change of pace – a much appreciated one – that I find myself not entirely sure how to deal with.
But at least I’ll have plenty of practice before I get back home – I’m doing three launches here in the UK (Bristol, London, Glasgow) and a couple of radio interviews, so that by the time I rock up back home I’ll be in good shape to impress my family. I mean, I think they’re pretty impressed already but you know, as The Mom would say, “You always want to present your best self, dear.”