Saturday, 23 July 2011

Phew. Glad that's over...

Well, it’s been a mad week. If a writer’s life is a rollercoaster of highs (getting published / meeting a fan at a book signing) and lows (rejections / getting told to shove off at a book signing) then this week has been a condensed version.

It started a week ago when I drove 260 miles to speak to a book group where, I discovered the day before, only 7 of the 14 had actually purchased my book. Given the distance, and the fact that I don’t charge to do this, I thought this was a bit much but as I’d already booked my hotel I went anyway. Well, there may have only been 7 there but they made up for it with their enthusiasm and I was delighted by their comments. When they gave me some chocs and flowers as a `thank you` my cup floweth over… I arrived at the hotel pleased I’d made the journey.

The following day I did two book signings (mad idea – never again) and it was pouring with rain. Both branches of Waterstones were dead, so I was lucky to sell 40 books, and drove home feeling weary.

On Tuesday I went to Bodies in the Bookshop at Heffers, Cambridge. I knew that with so many crime writers there it would be a good networking opportunity, and I especially wanted to meet Sophie Hannah (we’d exchanged e-mails but never met in the flesh) and S J Watson (whose book led me to my new agent). Fate was on my side; by chance I was in the taxi line with S J Watson, and ended up sharing a cab, which gave me ample time to chat with him, and then Sophie was on the same book-signing table as me. I was one of the last to leave the event, and selling a few books was an added bonus.

Wednesday was manic. I drove to Wickhambrook, somewhere in the Suffolk wilds, and met the WI group there. We had a lovely lunch, and after my talk I sold lots of books, so it was a fantastic event. I also got gifted some fabulous cup cakes so the kids were happy when I got home… however before going home I zoomed to London for the People’s Book Prize awards. I am grateful to everyone who voted for me, and especially for the comments left on the site. I didn’t win but it was a lovely evening and I still felt fortunate to be there.

Thursday was another book club, this time a group that I had met last year when they read The Woman Before Me. Their response to The Sacrificial Man was, if anything, even more enthusiastic and it was a great night. I do love book clubs!

Friday was the short-listing of the New Blood Dagger and although I knew it was a bad sign that I’d heard nothing I was still disappointed to see the confirmation that I wasn’t short-listed. As the opening of The Woman Before Me had won the debut dagger back in 2005 I was hopeful that the completed version would be deemed worthy of a listing. I’d already predicted that Before I go to Sleep, Poison Tree and Into the Darkest Corner would be on the list. Fantastic novels all.

But I wasn’t downcast for long.

Today took me to Bury St Edmunds for one of the best book signings I have ever done. There is a growing awareness of my books, and several people came in knowing I would be there. Others had heard me on Radio Suffolk / BBC2 / Woman’s Hour so that was a good sign that the publicity works.
I’ve just arrived home – tired by happy.
It’s been a bit of an up and down week, but on balance a writer’s life is still the one for me.