‘Wow! Your second book? So soon?’ my friend said.
We were ‘catching up’... that thing you do when you don’t get the chance to meet up all the time. It hadn’t been so long that we were remembering past times or anything, you know, those good ol’ trips down memory lane, but it had been long enough that we were bringing each other up to speed on events in our day to day lives.
She had started a new job, moved house, was contemplating a new relationship... all big things.
My big thing was that my second book had just been released and I was planning a launch party.
‘You only just launched the first one!’ she added.
‘That’s so great. How does it feel?’
‘I’m really excited!’ I said. ‘It feels amazing.’
And it does feel amazing.
Although, in all honesty, the release date sort of crept up on me , all unbeknownst.
Trouble and the Missing Cat, the second book in my (at this point) four book series about Georgia and a troublesome dragon called Trouble, was something so far off in the distance back in February when I launched Trouble at Home, that I was taken by surprise when July was just a couple of weeks away and, yes, Missing Cat, was indeed about to hit the shelves.
For Trouble at Home, the wait had been long. There had been a couple of unavoidable hiccoughs along the way, but, more than that, before that, I’d already been waiting years to reach that huge dream of my very own published book.
Waiting had become my default. I expect to wait.
In June, given the opportunity to speak to a captive audience of teachers, librarians and a couple of interested young readers, I tentatively held up a laminated copy of the cover and said, ‘this is my new book, coming soon’. And then I realised just how soon and went into overdrive, trying to replicate all the promotion I did over several months before the arrival of my first-born book in only a couple of weeks.
Poor Missing Cat, I hope you don’t grow up to suffer from second child syndrome.
I love you just as much.
So how does it feel?
It feels OMG, this is actually happening. I’m not dreaming.
I was definitely in fairy land with the publication of Trouble at Home. This was mine, my very own, written by me, book. It took me decades to get here. My feet were not touching the ground, my head was in the clouds... choose any similar metaphor-stroke-cliché. That was me.
Of course, I knew Trouble and the Missing Cat was coming, and that the four book contract was the first part of the whole unbelievable, amazing thing that had reached a zenith when I had my launch party and the beautiful, wonderful people who had become my staunch supporters came along to wave and cheer.
That was a can't-quite-believe-it-is-finally-happening amazing.
This, this feeling, is more of a down-to-earth amazing. I really do have books with my name on them on bookshop shelves. People really are reading my words.
I really do have books...
This is a warm-feeling-inside amazing. A validation of all my years (of being a slow learner but eventually getting there) amazing.
It’s a quiet amazing.
And I’m enjoying it.
For me, becoming a writer has been a long held dream. Back in high school, when the careers advisor gave a little indulgent smile and suggested I aim to be a maths teacher instead (because I was good at music!), I tucked the dream away a little bit. Then, after uni, when I completed my first novel and earned my first rejection letter, I tucked it away a little bit deeper.
I let the dream lie fallow for twenty years after that, then slowly began again, letting it grow with each competition success, and with each short story and article that made it into print.
The dream is well and truly alive and growing again now.
I’m going to enjoy this warm moment of satisfaction.
And keep on growing.
Because. It feels Amazing.