A conversation with an about-to-be-published author

A young woman about to publish her first novel recently asked me if I still got excited – as excited as she clearly was, and jolly well should be – whenever I receive a copy of my latest book. I answered honestly that, while I can clearly remember the physical thrill – like a lightning bolt – I felt in the moment when I first saw my name on a book I had written – non-fiction – in the window of Rizzoli’s in New York thirty-odd years ago, I don’t anticipate the same buzz as I write my tenth book.

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I immediately regretted that my reply might take the shine off her pleasure, and tried to explain that it doesn’t mean that I don’t love writing or publishing any the less. The writing itself gets harder, more complex, more challenging, more deeply satisfying. And – I suddenly realised – what really gives me a thrill, thanks to Twitter, to Amazon reviews, to taking part in literary events, is the connection to an individual reader.

It’s also what I loved about journalism. When I wrote features for newspapers and magazines, once in a while an article would garner a response that showed it had hit a nerve, communicated, shared, perhaps even comforted.

Knowing that, once in a while, one of my novels does the same is very, very exciting.

So thank you for reading!

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2 thoughts on “A conversation with an about-to-be-published author

  1. Emily Benet says:

    Haha I think you were referring to me. It’s actually my second book. My first book launch really felt so special, like a wedding, this second one feels less sparkly, and more of a solid stepping stone on a long path ahead! You did seem quite unexcited (realistic?), but then I often feel like that when people tell me, oh it must be so exciting to write a book! I think it’s because there’s so much work involved and there are days you want people to see that. Anyway, I’ve got your latest book on my table and looking forward to reading it

  2. I was! And felt guilty for sounding negative – but I think I’d a bit of a day struggling with a chapter. Thank you for visiting my blog, and for buying my latest book – I hope you enjoy it. Very good luck with your second!

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