Two Months To Publication Day And The Best Has Happened... And So Has The Worst

Posted on 21st April, 2017

Okay, so you've read the title of this blog and you're thinking: What a drama queen. Well, I'm not. I'm telling the simple truth.


Last month, in the week of the 22nd, I blogged about my experiences to date as a debut novelist, which mostly meant working hard at book number 2, but also involved getting my author photo taken... oh, yes, and dear old Amazon getting my name wrong.


Here I am a month later, again in the week of the 22nd and I was hoping to give you a jolly update, but unfortunately that isn't possible. I can start with a good thing, though - and not just good, but quite possibly the best moment of the whole process.


Because I did the copy edits more quickly than expected, this meant I was sent the proofs sooner than planned. It so happened that I was feeling rather fraught the day the email arrived with a socking great attachment plus a cheerful request to get working. My stress levels went through the roof, but I settled down and got started... and all at once, there was my title page.


Wow. Forget the stress: that evaporated on the spot. My very own title page. My first one. A wonderful moment. Pure goosebumps.


Working on the proofs was a complete delight. My proofs weren't sent to me on paper. They came via the computer, but being able to see what the pages will look like, I am proud to tell you that The Deserter's Daughter is going to be a handsome piece of book production. And I don't mind admitting I went back and looked at that title page more than once.


So - yes - the best moment... which was unfortunately followed by the worst. I have thought deeply about whether to share this, but I have decided that I will, because for me it feels such an important part of my journey to publication.


Auntie Barbara passed away unexpectedly last week. She was 94, so maybe it shouldn't have been unexpected, but it was. My late mum always said Barbara was 'a creaking gate' - meaning she always had some ailment or other, but she just kept on creaking. 'She'll outlive the lot of us,' Mum used to say - and she was right.


In her own generation, Barbara outlived Kathleen, Jessie, Gerald, Dennis, Bernard, Peter, Freddie, Greg, Beryl, Frank and Mark. The only one she didn't outlive was Auntie Colette, but in fairness to Auntie Barbara's staying power, I ought to point out that Colette is a whole decade younger.


Auntie Barbara was my biggest cheerleader. She was so pleased and proud about The Deserter's Daughter. Every time she saw me, she told me how she was going to go to the book shop on publication day and buy the first copy and after she had read it, she was going to write to the newspapers about it - her equivalent of posting a review on Amazon.


The last thing that Barbara did for me was to join with Colette to pay for my author photo; and I wore a crystal necklace that Barbara was given in the 1930s and which she passed on to me when I was in my teens.


And now she is gone. And while publication day is going to be a wonderful, exciting occasion, and one of the high points of my life, something unutterably special will be missing.




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Comments (12)

Carol, how lovely of you to be so positive in a time of loss. Even though Auntie Barbara won't be there for publication day, I will remember her pride in my achievement. Nothing will ever take that away. And indeed, yes - my first title page - such a special moment. Thank you for your kind words.
Lynn, thank you for your kind message. Yes, I have indeed been lucky to have had such a wonderful cheerleader as Barbara. And yes again - I am so pleased and proud that The Deserter's Daughter is going to be such a gorgeous piece of book production. I've only seen it on-screen so far - can't wait to see the real thing!
Auntie Barbara just slightly removed, her energies now yours Susanna, as always with our loved ones. Publication Day will be no less, but far more, rich with the experiences of life and lasting love. Well done on that unique title page, the first of many more celebrations!
Sorry to read about the loss of your Auntie Barbara, Susanna. Always wonderful to have had someone who is so supportive. Sending comforting hugs...On the upside it is so good to know that you are pleased with the production of your first book and that your photo contains an item, dear to you, from your much loved Auntie. Take care
Thanks for your kind and supportive message, Jen. It was remembering your own blog about the loss of Cousin Mary that helped me to decide that I should include Auntie Barbara in this blog. And yes, I am so glad I wore her necklace for the photo.

As for framing the title page - you are actually the second person to suggest this, so maybe I should take the idea seriously!
Your moving and sensitive post brought me to tears, Susanna. Thank you for sharing this part of your journey to publication with us. I send sympathy and much love you grieve the loss of dear Auntie Barbara. As others have already said, I shall also take special note of the crystal necklace in your author photo when I see your book for the first time.

On a happier note, your first title page is big milestone indeed. Have you considered making a copy to frame?
Kirsten, thank you for your lovely words and not least for saying I have other cheerleaders. The friendship of you and the other LLs has been a valuable support to me throughout the whole writing process - from the writing and re-writing to the submitting and rejections to the part where things took off last summer. Looking forward to your end-of-the-month guest blog next weekend. xx
I'm so sorry Sue. You have many many cheerleaders but no one can replace your lovely Auntie Barbara. Sending you a big hug and lots of love x
Jan, how lovely of you. Thank you for your kind message. I wanted to wear Barbara's necklace in the photo to please her and now I am extra glad that I did.
Oh, Sue, I was so sorry to read about the loss of your Auntie Barbara at such an otherwise exciting time for you. She sounds like an amazing woman. When I look at your author photo on your book in June, my eyes will be drawn to the crystal necklace that means so much to you. Sending hugs. Xx
Kate, thank you so much for your kind words. I was unsure to start with whether it was appropriate to write about Auntie Barbara in a public forum, but your immediate understanding has shown that I was right to do so. As for the tears - I wept all the way through the writing of the Barbara part of this blog. I am glad it touched you too. xx
Oh Sue, you really have brought me to tears with this post. I'm so sorry about the loss of your Auntie Barbara, but how wonderful that she will be with you for each of your books through your author photo. Sending lots of love. x