My husband leaves for work at 5 a.m. I feel his lips brush my cheek, but don’t move. An hour later, my alarm goes off and, after thinking of three things to be grateful for (my morning routine) and checking the news and messages, I drag myself out of bed.
Over the next hour I do my morning Pilates workout, put away last night’s dishes and empty the dishwasher, start the washing machine, swallow a black coffee.
It’s just another weekday and then I remember that it’s not.
Today Wherever You Go is released.
Today I surrender a piece of my heart to the world.
I take in a deep breath and relax my shoulders as relief floods through my body.
It’s out there.
There is nothing more I can do.
Writers often call their books ‘babies’ and I realise that the mother-child analogy aptly describes my feeling of relief-hope-anticipation-nervousness. I ponder this while I dress:
You give birth to an idea; it grows into a story that you mould and shape, and one day, you let go so it can make its own way in the world.
From then on, your relationship to your book changes.
It’s the same with kids. One day, you have to let them go.
But there’s no point focusing on what could go wrong. After all, in the same way I raised my children to find their way in the world, I wrote my novel for readers.
At my desk, there’s a message telling me I have a review. My heart pounds as I open it … and then tears slide down my face. It’s good. Better than good.
‘This debut novel is beautiful in its execution, raw and powerful.’ – THE BOOK MUSE
I didn’t expect to cry today. I thought I’d got all that out of the way while writing and editing. While working through self-doubt and rejection. While wondering if I should throw it all in.
As well wishes flow in from family and friends, I wipe the tears away, smiling as Messenger ping-ping-pings.
I’ve done it.
I wrote that book.
I’ve published that book.
The one I’ve been blogging about for the past few years.
I lean back in my chair and allow the warmth of satisfaction to wash over me. To be in the moment.
The washing machine beeps.
I sit on a stool opposite my kindred spirit friend and fellow writer, Maureen Eppen. Before me are smiling faces – family, friends, strangers. I feel calm and content, even though thirty minutes earlier I was in the kitchen preparing a cheese platter, cutting up fat chocolate brownie slabs, searching for paper plates, wiping down a bench. Usually it’s me asking the questions, but tonight I’m happy to be on the other side of the mic.
Afterwards, I sign books, taking care not to misspell a name. I’m smiling on the outside, but inside I’m marvelling at the fact that it is, in fact, me sitting with a rapidly diminishing pile of books.
I push away the tiny voice that asks ‘What if they don’t like it?’ That voice has no place here tonight. And I’m feeling too good for it to take hold. Bored, it wanders off, and I float on a cloud of happiness all the way back home, exhausted and temporarily peopled out.
Eventually I fall asleep, promising myself that I’ll do my best to get Wherever You Go out there.
I’ll put all my hopes and dreams behind it …
… but in the end, as Doris Day sings, Que sera sera.
Wherever You Go is available now from ONLINE bookstores in print and eBook. You can also ask your indie bookstore or library to order it in.
Buy Wherever You Go here.
Listen to my chat with Writes4Women here.
Watch an interview here.