I’ve wanted to be an author since I was eight-years-old, reading Agatha Christie novels in my bedroom. I became a journalist to edge me closer, then tried writing a book when I was 21. I screwed it up and came back to the idea when I was 34. My debut novel, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was the result.
I mention this because you would have thought, with all the anticipation and hard work that went into writing Seven Deaths, I’d have enjoyed being published a lot more than I did.
Truth is, I didn’t enjoy it all. Not at first.
This is because I’m nuts.
Getting published was a weird process for me. Instead of enjoying the different milestones as they happened, each one stressed me out a little more, because I was sure failure was around the next corner. It was like running a marathon believing there’s a lion waiting for you somewhere up ahead.
When I was accepted by an agent, I couldn’t celebrate because I worried he wouldn’t be able to sell Seven Deaths to a publisher. When he sold it to a publisher I couldn’t celebrate because I wanted to nail the edit. The edit was great, but what would the reviews be like? Oh well, the reviews are nice, but will people buy it?
This insanity was never-ending, and I really regret it. Everybody around me had fun. My friends and family enjoyed every moment. Usually with champagne. They asked excited questions and I’d give horribly morose answers, trying to temper their enthusiasm so they wouldn’t be too disappointed when that lion ate me.
My editor and agent were brilliant. Every week, it seemed, the publicity and marketing team would send these incredible emails about new promotions, exciting reviews, and I’d feel my anticipation building and worry how it would feel when it all went away.
Like I said: nuts.
It’s only now, two years later I’ve settled down and started enjoying being an author. It helps that Seven Deaths has sold pretty well, been shortlisted for some awards and had nice things said about it. More than that, I love the day-to-day of being published. I’m full-time now, so most weeks I’m doing an interview or an event somewhere in the country, then writing the rest of the time – exactly as I always wanted.
Basically, being an author is just a very nice way to spend a day. My nerves haven’t gone completely, but I’ve learned to tune them out. Until book 2, I suspect. At which point, I’ll probably start the entire ridiculous marathon all over again. In fact, I’m pretty sure I can hear my lion roaring up ahead right now.
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is publshed by Raven Books