On Tuesday, the imaginary PRINT button was pushed and my book, OUR book, yours and mine, went into production.
Today you should get an email with several download links to suit whichever device you want to read it on.
Scrumple up the weekend To Do list, bribe the children, order a takeaway and find somewhere comfortable to sit... there is a book to be read.
When it actually happened, I was grinning like the proverbial Cheshire cat.
Today... well, today I really want it to be Monday, to be entirely honest.
I have lived with my characters, made them have adventures and arguments, go on buses, and eat ice cream. And suddenly these people aren't mine any more. I'm sending them off, wrapped up in a wonderful book-jacket, so that you can meet them.
It's akin to watching a child go to school. As a parent, you hope that they will be alright, make friends, and have a good life which is not yours. At the same time there is an undertone of anxiety, because you have tried very hard to make them independent and not need constant reference to you, and until they come home at the end of the school day, you won't know if it's all been OK.
So I am incredibly happy but at the same time, I will be crossing all my fingers until there is some feedback from you, the readers. It is not my book any more. It's your book.
I would like to introduce Jean, and Donald, and Kathleen and Connie and Fred (and a few others). I feel as though they are my friends, and I hope they will be yours too.
I have one last piece of news, something I was pretty much sworn to secrecy on.
The book is going to be a PAPERBACK. Right up until the button was pressed to not metaphorically, but actually print it, I didn't really want to believe it was going to happen. It is, of course, a dream come true.
This is the book cover, designed by Mark Ecob. I couldn't show it to you before now because the back and the spine would have given the game away.
After you have read the book, if you go back and study the cover, you will find that the stacks of paper and other ephemera are embedded in the narrative. They aren't clues, as such, but you can play a sort of I-Spy with them.
I have been fortunate to have two writers whose work I love, read the book and provide quotes for the cover.
Helen Sedgwick, author of The Comet Seekers, said
'The Sewing Machine tenderly evokes the true value of the personal heritage we pass down, through generations and beyond families, with the objects that we love. Illuminating our shared history through the private histories of four remarkable women, this is a hopeful and poignant debut that lingers long after the final page.’
Rachael Lucas, author of Wildflower Bay, said
'An extraordinarily accomplished and beautiful debut novel woven with historical detail.'
I can't say a big enough thank you to each and every one of you, it's impossible. Just know that I am very, very grateful. YOU made this happen and that is a truly splendid thing. We are a great team.
PS If you would like to tweet or use Instagram (tea, coffee, or cake beside your kindle, perhaps), or post on Goodreads, (obviously without giving the plot away), that would be marvellous. I have uploaded the details onto Goodreads already so it should be fairly easy to find.
I have been using #sewingmachinebook and #JeanAndFred as hashtags but feel free to add your own as well.
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