It’s a long time ago. There have been many disappointments and I’ve struggled to be patient, to keep on working regardless of outcome – success or failure. I’ve drafted two versions as a book for teenagers, and a further final draft for adults. I’ve learnt how to refine and edit and take criticism, and now the launch feels like only another stage – albeit a happy one, in a long continuum.
The book arrived from my publisher only days before a crisis with my very old parents that has cast a long foreshadow over the summer. Holding it in my hands I felt nothing but a distant wonder that at last, after so many edits, redrafts, and proof readings there it was, with its fine cover designed by Adam Craig.
I showed it to my father only days later, as he lay in bed with his broken hip. I will read it, he said, but not now. I know he never will. He was a great reader and took pride in my work but it has come three years too late for that.
Those who have cared for old parents will know the terrain. In the last two weeks my heaviness of heart has been balanced by moments of wonder – watching the crows preening on the rooftop, a shimmering stand of golden poplars – that seem extraordinary and beautiful. How at the hardest times, the brilliant moments sustain.
Now I look forward to my book launches in Manchester and Wirksworth, and hope it’s the beginning of a new phase in my life as a writer.