A Book is Born

I don’t like to make declarative statements about things being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – it’s all  so subjective, at most we can say I think a thing is good or I think a thing is bad – but Sex and the City 2 is demonstrably a terrible movie. Its tagline could’ve been No demographic not offended. But I bring it up because of an early scene – before the ladies head to the Middle East to amp up the offence to include casual racism – where Carrie receives her first finished copy of her new book in the mail.

Carrie Bradshaw’s writing career has never exactly been portrayed with gritty realism. She was able to afford an amazing apartment in New York City, $500 shoes and vintage Chanel on the proceeds of a short column in a tabloid newspaper. All you ever saw of this labour was her getting to wonder about things while sat in front of a laptop at a desk that was never messy. No scraps of paper, no scattered pens, no research books, no cold cups of coffee, no Post-Its crumpled up or stuck to the wall. Not to mention the fact that her book launch apparently had the budget of a Hollywood premiere…

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But that scene where she gets her finished copy (just the one, another fiction) has always stuck with me because there is some truth to it. No, we may not be in high heels, a sequinned dress and full make-up when the postman rings the bell and grunts something about us having a parcel. And that bell may not be outside the door of a million-dollar NYC penthouse apartment that belongs on the cover of Architectural Digest and contains no evidence whatsoever that someone holds down a job as a writer in there. But there is some truth in it.

Because when an actual, proper copy of your book arrives, all memories of the mess and stress and cold cups of abandoned coffee that went into writing it do magically go away. Because it was all worth it, for this. And your desk might well be tidy because you’re still in the honeymoon phase of the next book, when you can just sit down and type, and there isn’t yet a trail of cryptic handwritten notes along all routes leading to your desk (After the party? Simon as opposite chair? CACTUS/NOTICE!), and you’re still remembering to actually drink those coffees. And your shelf by your desk is clean and tidy, prepped for this new, longed for arrival, and after you add your new book to it and then stand there, gazing at it adoringly for a while, you feel as good as you would if you were in high-heels, a sparkly dress and a full face of make-up.

(Well, not heels for me. But you know what I mean.)

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UK/Ireland cover to the left, USA cover to the right. I heart them both. 

I don’t have finished copies of The Liar’s Girl yet, but in the last week or so I’ve received proof copies of both the UK/Ireland and USA editions. This is the first time you get to see your book as a book and not just text on a screen or in a pile of loose page proof sheets. And all the stress of writing it, all the late nights, the months and months of going to bed every night feeling like I hadn’t done my homework – I’m Second Book Syndrome, how do you do? – all of that has gone away.

And, like a glutton for punishment, there’s a part of me that can’t wait to go through it all over again.

In other news, all 20 places on our first Inspiration Project event in Seafield SOLD OUT in only 4 days! We were gobsmacked by the response and are currently organising a second event as quickly as we can, so stay tuned for details on that. There was more good news when one of our founders, Carmel Harrington, was shortlisted for the IBA Popular Fiction Book of the Year for her novel The Woman at 72 Derry Lane. And I had a great time at the Dagger Awards last week, and massive congratulations to Chris Whitaker who won the John Creasey/New Blood Dagger for his fantastic Tall Oaks.

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I’m going to be giving away a proof of The Liar’s Girl on my Facebook page very soon, so make you’ve ‘liked’ it to be in with a chance of winning it!

2 thoughts on “A Book is Born

  1. clairejones323 says:

    Congratulations Catherine, that’s a brilliant achievement. I loved Distress Signals and I’m really looking forward to reading The Liar’s Girl. I’m wishing you every success.

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