I’m not quite sure how we’re already in March, but spring has allegedly sprung and lots of new green shoots and little buds of exciting things are blossoming among your Inspiration Diaries authors. Suffice to say, February might have been short, but a lot happened. Over to … us!
The thing I love most about this job is how, at any moment, an email can land in your inbox, completely out of the blue, utterly unexpected, that completely changes your day, week, month – or maybe even career. Being a writer is like fly fishing. You are cold and wet and alone a lot of the time – look, just go with it, okay? – but you have lines in the water and you never know when, um, a big fish is going to tug on one of them and make all the coldness, wetness and aloneness totally worth it. (I believe ‘big fish’ is the technical term. Ahem.) Since The Liar’s Girl was nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel at the end of January, Exciting News Emails have been hitting my inbox every other day.
Since last we figuratively spoke, I’ve been interviewed and photographed for a newspaper feature, and been on TV and radio. I’ve been invited to events in New York and an amazing book festival in California. Exciting things I can’t tell you about yet are happening behind the scenes. And I didn’t do anything! Lest I have to remind you: I was sitting on my couch surrounded by piles of laundry when the news came in. I think this is a great comfort – no matter how you feel today about your work-in-progress, your career, etc., in this world, tomorrow could be the beginning of something special. Just hang in there. Keep going. Don’t give up. And keep checking your Gmail…
In far less exciting, mundane, actual work news: REWIND has gone to the printers for Round 1: Bound Proofs. This is when they take the copyedited but not yet proofread text and make proof copies to go out to other authors, reviewers, etc. I will also get a copy of those pages in PDF that I’ll print out here and check for errors myself. The funniest thing copyedits turned up? At age 36.5, I discovered that Bonfire Night on June 23 isn’t an Irish thing, or even a Cork thing – it’s a Cork City thing. Who knew?! Now: onto Book 4…
After struggling through mid-term break (deadlines – what deadlines?), I was very relieved to return the proof pages for Meet Me in Monaco (the last chance to make changes or corrections – yikes!). I’m now at the other end of the process, finishing the first draft of my new book which I plan to send to my agent before I hit the slopes in Austria mid-month, because trying to ski, write and eat strudel at the same time is a skill I haven’t yet mastered! Plans are also coming together for the Meet Me in Monaco US book tour in July, and Heather and I have been quietly working on something behind the scenes – watch this space!
Being a writer isn’t just about sitting at the desk, but also about meeting other writers and being part of the publishing industry. I took my own advice recently and hopped over to London to hear Tracy Chevalier talk about Girl With a Pearl Earring on the 20th anniversary of the book’s publication. This book, and Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl, sparked my love of historical fiction, so it was amazing to hear Tracy talk about her research and writing, and to wait for her to sign a copy of the book. Inspiration tank definitely topped up!
Next week, I’m celebrating International Women’s Day at an event at my former employer, with some incredible female Irish writers. It feels very fitting to return to the place where my corporate career ended ten years ago this month. I had no idea where my words would take me, and I’m so grateful I didn’t give up, despite many rejections, especially as I got the amazing news yesterday that The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter hit the USA Today bestsellers list at #33! Inspiration, if any were needed, to keep going, and keep working hard. That ‘yes’ is out there.
I think February is a short month because just like Caesar and the Romans, we all want it to be March already! It’s been a month of two halves for me.
The first, a much needed time of recharging and planning, which included midterm with the kids. (See January’s diary entry to understand why I needed this time off!) But while I wasn’t writing, I was working. I ticked off some jobs that had been neglected in the last quarter of 2018. I’m happy to report that my website has now been updated, a newsletter is written and I even did a little Kon Mari on the kid’s wardrobes. #Smug.
Planning came in the form of a long chat with my agent. We discussed plans for the future and that’s always energising. World domination still top of the agenda! If you know me you know that I always dream big. Having the right agent is vitally important for a writer. You need someone who is always in your corner, championing and challenging you. So when it comes to this decision, do your research, take your time and find the right fit for you and your career.
The second half of February has been about edits. Or chasing the lovely, as I like to call it. I’m determined to make this version of Finding Greta Gale the best it can possibly be. I’ve had incredibly insightful suggestions from both my editor and agent. They know my writing so well, they always push me in exactly the right way.
Did you know that I sometimes do video chats with book clubs? If geography isn’t in my favour, technology always comes to the rescue! I had a great chat with The Writers Circle – with members from the US to France. Use the contact form on my website for more information.
Lastly, for the first time in over twenty years, I went back to school! I attended a two-day screenwriting course in Dublin. My plan is to write a screenplay before the year-end. Who knows where that might bring me?
Now, it’s time to get back to Greta …