Now that school has returned, I’m looking forward to getting back into some semblance of routine. It’s been utter chaos in the attic since my book was released: I haven’t known which day of the week it is, I’ve forgotten to eat, I don’t know what’s in the fridge or pantry, and my diary tells me where I’m meant to be and what I’m meant to be doing.
Although the past four weeks have been a whirlwind, the way readers have embraced The Sisters’ Song has been truly heartwarming. I’ve delighted in seeing the photos of my book from all around the country and New Zealand, and I’ve been thrilled to see it in stores, homes and on readers’ laps.
I felt a little anxious being interviewed on live radio and for ‘The Book Podcast‘, but everyone was so warm that I forgot I was being recorded and chatted away like I would to a friend. (I still can’t listen to myself because I know I’ll cringe!) For all of the nerves, it’s been satisfying to speak about my book to people who have read and enjoyed it.
I’ve loved the Q&A’s I’ve been sent by bloggers, readers and writers. It’s exciting to see what struck you most about my book, and gratifying that so many of you picked up on its themes.
As you can see, there have been so many special moments over the past few weeks, but the best parts, by a country mile, have been the messages from readers. Almost every day I’ve woken to at least one email or message from someone who’s read my book.
Heres’s a sample from those messages:
‘You, my dear, have just blown me out of the water. I have never been so overwhelmed, and so deeply engrossed, in a continuing saga. I felt every single word, from every single family member. A story so real, for so many people … Thankyou, for having the ability to put all that into words.’
‘That was MY childhood … You captured the feeling of a dysfunctional family with a depressed mum who resented her children … You really captured the essence of my bleak Tasmanian Gothic childhood.’
‘I have just this minute finished reading your book and it was so exquisitely beautiful. I cried many times but loved every page of it.
I’m still thinking about the characters days after … It’s so hard that even in our day and age women still have to make so many sacrifices.’
‘Where do I start? I have just this minute finished one of the best books I’ve read in a looooong time. I loved it all … The characters are still in my heart. Well done on this incredible achievement.’
‘You have written something magical.’
‘It’s such a gentle story of life and longing that reminded me very much of my grandmother who we all sensed had made life choices that caused pain and regret. We never knew what they were, but we knew they were there.’
‘My sister bought this book for me for my birthday … I had it read in 24 hours, I couldn’t put it down.’
‘BRILLIANTLY written. BRILLIANTLY to say the least. Beautifully sad. Amazing read.’
‘It’s midnight Saturday and I’m still up reading your book. I cancelled plans to go out tonight so I could keep reading. Your book is one of the BEST BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ. You drew me in straight away and I’m utterly enthralled.’
Some of your responses have been so honest and heartfelt, they’ve made me cry. I think every author hopes to strike a chord in readers’ hearts; it makes all the hard work worthwhile.
When I finished writing the book, I felt as if I’d somehow explained myself and my life. I’d spent most of the past six years in a solitary bubble creating this story, and although it was the story I wanted to tell, and one I liked, I didn’t know if it would speak to others. So to wake up to messages like these, and to hear my phone ping as they come in during the day, has been satisfying beyond measure, and I’m deeply grateful for all of them.
If you don’t mind indulging me for one moment, I have one minor, teeny, tiny disappointment: Barely anyone has commented on the humour in my book! I know you’re not meant to laugh at your own jokes, but I cracked myself up as I wrote some of the scenes. However, they’ve gone largely unnoticed, and I’m a little peeved about that*. As only one of my children has read my book, and then only under duress, I recently relayed some of the funnier moments in the book to my sons. I was laughing so hard I could barely speak, but they just looked at each other and raised their eyebrows. I guess I’ll have to be satisfied with making people cry!
I’ve tried to savour every minute of this time, I really have, because it won’t come again. But it’s been a rollercoaster and I’ve felt the whole gamut of emotions. Most of the time, it’s been exhilarating and I’ve felt proud of what I’ve created. But there have been times when I’ve been so full of self-doubt that I’ve wondered if I should have published the book at all. I’ve never felt this exposed before, as if I’m standing naked on a stage while an audience comments on each wrinkle, cellulite dimple and ounce of flab.
It’s still early days and it’s all so new that I’ve not had time to process it yet. Give me time, and I’ll get used to it, I’m sure.
Anyway, back to business. I’m looking forward to settling down to daily life again, and doing what I love doing most: writing. It’s why I’m here, and it’s the thing that brings me most joy. I can’t wait to get stuck into Novel #2, blog again and welcome more writers into the attic.
Speaking of writers in the attic, I have my first guest next Monday. She’s actually a return visitor, but it’s been a while since she was last here. It’s none other than my writing buddy and author extraordinaire, Michelle Johnston, whose novel ‘Dustfall‘ will be released in a couple of days.
Until then, happy reading, happy writing, and happy routine!
* This is a joke—I’m not really peeved!
Don’t forget that my book launch is on this Friday, 2 February! Please come along if you’re in Perth.
I’m sending out my January newsletter in the next day or two. It will have all the details of where I’ll be speaking over the next couple of months, including my sessions at Perth Writers Week.
If you haven’t signed up already, you can do so here.
I’m visiting my first book club this Wednesday, so I’m rather excited. I’ve prepared a little book club package, which will be having its first outing!
If you’d like me to come to your book club, I can travel anywhere in the Perth metropolitan area, or visit via Skype if you live elsewhere in Australia.
Let me know via the Contact page.