If you’re reading this blog, the chances are you are expecting a baby or you’ve just had one. It’s a while ago since my own babies were born – I now have teenagers. However, I still remember the initial buzz of being pregnant, then the slog through the middle bit when it felt like forever, then the countdown to D-day. This year though, I’ve given birth to a different sort of baby – my debut novel – but the process has felt a little similar.
I remember proudly announcing that ‘I was going to write a novel’. Which, of course, led to much leaping into the undergrowth and diving into shops every time I saw the words ‘Are you published yet?’ shaping on anyone’s lips. Then there was the (very) long bit in the middle when the novel was done but not going anywhere – it reminded me of my daughter hanging on in there for ten days beyond her due date. Without an agent, it’s almost impossible to get published and over a five-year period, I had enough rejections to paper an entire nursery. Eventually the glorious day arrived when The School Gate Survival Guide burst out into the world last August. I managed to get an agent and a two-book deal with HarperCollins on the same day…a bit like unexpectedly giving birth to twins!
And then came the part that most closely resembles having a baby – once it’s out in the world, it’s a free-for-all for everyone to chime in with their opinions…
It could be that you don’t want to hear your friend/mother-in-law/auntie’s advice on how you get your baby to sleep through the night or eat puréed sweet potato but actually, I love hearing what readers think of my novel – so if you do read my funny story about school gate snobbery – let me know your verdict. You can read some free chapters here: http://bit.ly/SchoolGate – or the whole thing for just 99p! (And it’s great preparation for when that little bundle does start school, though actually, I’ve made some wonderful friends at the school gates – just borrowed and exaggerated the occasional trait I’ve noticed…)
Other authors who’ve given ‘birth’ to their first novels in the past year include:
The Lie of You: Jane Lythell – a brilliant psychological thriller
The Atlas of Us: Tracy Buchanan – emotional summer read
The Wake: Anna Hope – a moving story about the immediate aftermath of the First World War.
And she’s not a debut author but for something lighthearted and fun, try Take Mum Out by Fiona Gibson