Publication Day

The sub-title for this post is ‘The Kindness of Others’. I am naturally very excited about today’s publication of my first novel of psychological suspense, Out of Sight, but in a way almost more deeply touched by the delight other people are taking in it. And also a little bewildered: I have been writing for decades, and never experienced the same sense of celebration over a screenplay, a newspaper article or a non-fiction book – all forms of writing I have enjoyed and am equally proud of.

Why should a novel be so different? Why is a novel an endeavour that inspires such shared pride?

A novel is certainly a bigger, more densely sustained piece of imaginative work than, for example, a screenplay (though I doubt it’s my hard work that has provoked my friends’ pleasure).

I think it’s because the physical book bearing my name is much more than simply the story I set out to tell in the form of a novel. I’m too close to the coal-face of writing Out of Sight to stand back and see it from such a wide perspective, but my friends’ pleasure reminds me that any novel has the potential to be a cultural achievement: it may be a realisation of the self, the creation of some kind of defining personal narrative, a personal legacy, or even become part of a literature that reflects society or introduces immortal characters loved by generations of readers. The act of reading also takes place in a specially created personal space, making it a more intimate, companionable experience than watching TV.

My friends’ sense of shared pride in my publication day reflects something far beyond my book precisely because that something places it for a fleeting moment at the heart of all readers’ love of and respect for the adventure of fiction. And that is something to celebrate.


One thought on “Publication Day

  1. Merle Nygate says:

    I think that the reason why a novel is so special is that the writer has a one-to-one dialogue with the reader. The writer reveals him or herself in a way that in TV, film or other media is filtered by all the other people who interpret the work. The writer of a novel may be telling a story and using craft and imagination, but they are also describing the inner working of a character’s mind through the prism on their own.

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