You know, I think it’s only during this Christmas mini-break that I’ve realised exactly how exhausting this year has been. I can tell I’m tired, because I’ve spent roughly 80% of my time at home asleep. Take today for example – dragged myself reluctantly out of bed at midday, watched Man of Steel, tried to figure out what Minecraft is about (I exploded twice! I’m not normally that bad at video games, honest), ate a load of Christmas cheese with Marty, immediately fell asleep for about two hours. And I’m still tired. Most days have been like this.
Looking back, it’s not that surprising. After all, 2013 was the year that my fabulous agent sold my book to Headline, and that meant that I hit the ground running in January – by then I was already knee deep in the structural edit laid out by Juliet, and then once the book was with my publisher, there were many more edits to work through. It’s the part of the business I don’t think you really grasp until it’s happening to you; that a book is so much more than the first draft. I lost track of how many edits The Copper Promise went through in the end, but I can tell you that I know that saucy little sword and sorcery romp back to front, up and down, top to tail. Good lord do I ever.
And while I was doing all that, there was all the other stuff, of course. I went to Nineworlds and did my first public reading and had a fabulous time. When the edits were finally handed in on The Copper Promise I started work on book two (and book two is not easy, not least because suddenly you’re getting paid to do this stuff and it’s all alarmingly serious). I spoke on a couple of panels at EdgeLit and managed not to cack myself. We spent a few days in York and I looked at a Viking poo. I volunteered as a Red Coat at World Fantasy Con, which turned out to be one of my more foolish decisions. I seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time being ill this year too, and to add an extra layer of frothy stress to my aggravation trifle, I ended up in a new position in my day job that meant longer hours and more time staring at computer screens.
It has been quite a year. I saw my face on the Bookseller homepage (right next to Maggie Thatcher’s, alarmingly), I saw the cover of my book for the first time, I learnt what editing was really about, and I held a physical copy of The Copper Promise in my sweaty little mitts. I stood with a bag of proof copies at a bus stop, marvelling at the sheer weight of the things, and how all the words inside were mine.
And next year is likely to be another corker. On the 13th of February, The Copper Promise will be out in the world, possibly in actual bookshops, and people will be reading it and getting to know my characters. Once they’re out there, they will belong to the readers, at least a little bit, and that is amazing and scary. I will sign copies, and get my first bad reviews (and good ones, hopefully) and I’ll have achieved a dream I never really thought was possible. And I’ll finish book two, and start all those exciting edits again!
2014 is where it gets real, my lovelies, and I’m rather looking forward to it. I just need a few more days sleep first…