There aren’t too many years I’ve got to the end of and thought ‘ wow, I really DID something this year.’ 2013 is one. It is and always will be the year I got published.
Yet 2013 didn’t exactly start full of promise. In January I had a health scare that stirred up old worries. Luckily, all was fine. Then I caught cold after flu after cold and was beginning to think I’d never be well again.
It didn’t help that my day job as a secondary school teacher got even more stressful. In April, Ofsted arrived, armed with their ‘new’ criteria. The experience was so soul-destroying, many brilliant teachers considered resigning on the spot.
During all this, I was struggling with book 2. Writing to contract felt different; no more contemplating a single sentence for three hours. I worked to a strict weekly word count. Many times when I felt ill or tired or totally uninspired, I had to force myself to write. It was a good experience, because in the end I still produced a story I’m proud of.
And yes, eventually the sun did come out. By May, Frost Hollow Hall had the most gorgeous cover. In July, I received my very first copies. We had a long, hot summer, and I finished book 2 a week ahead of deadline. Hoorah!
By the end of the summer, the first reviews for Frost Hollow Hall began appearing. Let me tell you, this was probably the most nerve-wracking part of the publication journey. I kept thinking of all my book’s flaws- what wasn’t quite right still, what could’ve been better- and hoped other readers would see it differently.
When the 3rd October finally arrived, I was buzzing so much I couldn’t sleep. Those next few days of launch party and book signings were among my very best times EVER.
A big high came from working with my local indie bookshops. They were all so supportive of the book, and an absolute joy to do events with. Also, the bloggers- online I met many great people who are a credit to the world of literature. Their passion for books is astounding. So too the brilliant librarians who know SO much it’s humbling!
Through October, November and December, I did school visits, a festival, a candlelit reading, a Waterstones signing. I did a book tour of Essex schools with the Just Imagine Story Centre. And I’ve LOVED every minute. Beforehand, I’d felt quite nervous about sharing something as personal as my book. It’s very different to teaching. Now I realize that maybe that’s the appeal!
So, 2013 has been quite a year. I hope 2014 is too- it’s got big boots to fill.