It was a fabulous publication day yesterday! So many messages of congratulations were sent privately and on social media. I hope I managed to reply to all of them and thank every one because this is such an incredibly exciting and nerve wracking time. To know that people are excited about the book and that those who have read an early copy have enjoyed it, is just so wonderful to hear. Thank you again to everybody who made this launch so fantastic. Some of the lovely things that have been said about this book are on the welcome page of this website if you scroll to the bottom, authors and reviewers who took the time, trouble and effort to not only read the book, but to give a quote as well. Thank you to all of you. It’s very reassuring to know that the book isn’t an absolute howler when it’s about to be released into the wild.
I can never quite believe that all those tiny scraps of paper, odd ideas, post it notes and red string end up becoming a book. There’s some sort of strange alchemy between those first scribbled notes and the beautifully packaged item that ends up in a reader’s hands. There are so many magical and mysterious things about the world of books. How they ever end up being a published book is definitely one of them. One of my favourite movie moments is in Shakespeare in Love, when Philip Henslowe says to Hugh Fennyman, ‘The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.’ Mr Fennyman replies, ‘So what do we do?’ To which the response is something that sounds very similar to the world of books. ‘Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.’
Part of that is, of course, all the incredibly talented, hard working people who make this happen. People who say useful things such as ‘you can’t have all this description of the snow.’ And when I protest and say, ‘Why not?’ they very patiently tell me that no one would have been able to see it because I closed the curtains on page 10!! So I owe a huge thank you to everyone at every stage that this book has been through who has made it so much better than just a collection of words. Thank you to Emma for being the best editor in the world and a very good friend. You make these books sing, Emma. Working with you is an absolute joy. Thank you. Thank you Jasper and all the team at Joffe Books for taking the Smart women on, not an easy prospect, and believing in this unusual family. And thank you to James and Helena for everything and always being there and doing so much to make this all happen.
There’s a long distance between me sitting amongst a pile of post its, and the actual book being released. Thank you to everyone involved in that process. Huge thanks to all the wonderful authors, at the CWA and the D20s in particular, who have supported me, read my books and, most importantly, become wonderful friends over a glass or two. You lift me up when it doesn’t look like there will ever be a book and remind me that we all have vomit drafts, that ‘don’t look, don’t cry’ is a sound policy, and that we do this because we love it so much – most of the time.
Finally, thank you to my own fabulous family, who are nothing like the Smarts. No, I did not base the characters on anyone in particular but I know you all have your favourites. Thank you Catherine for all the support. To my Sarah, always inspiring me and supporting me. To my Delilah, for all our collaborations and all your ingenious plot points. To my Jimmy, for the models and endless ideas on how to kill people. And, finally, to my gorgeous husband, the one who has to read it first when it is actually just a collection of words!
So book five heads off into the world. Reviews will come in, some good, some… There are many more lovely events planned around the release – a book launch party (or two! why not?! in London on 23rd November and Devon on 1st December – thank you to both bookshops that have supported me so much); interviews; appearances; and general fun and excess will happen! If you would like to come to any of these, feel free to message me on my contact page.
Then the process will begin again. After all the excitement dies away, I will come back to my desk, an empty murder board and all those post it notes, maps, photographs, and red string, and I’ll say the same thing. ‘OK ladies, who are we going to kill next?’
I hope you enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed writing it and watching it come to life. Thank you for reading and for all your kind messages. Authors are nothing without readers.