Debbie Howells

Sometime later…

By on 28th October 2014 in Blog Posts

I’ve just read one of Jessie Burton’s blog posts – read it, her writing is beautiful – The Miniaturist is stunning.  She writes about how all this feels – the finding an agent, meeting publishers, your book being sold and the whole extraordinary thing about how this book you’ve written, that you’ve no idea if it’s any good or not, suddenly other people are reading it and most unbelievably of all, want to publish it.

She writes too, about the doubts, that even with her book just a handful of months from being published, still they come back to haunt you, because here’s the thing.
That getting-an-agent moment is magical in itself.  It validates all the blood, sweat and tears poured into first your book, and then the submission process.  The rejection you take on the chin, before picking yourself up and dusting yourself off, because not to keep trying isn’t an option.  When miraculously, incredibly, an agent loves your book, it’s the reaching the top of the mountain moment.  You want to pause at the summit, letting it soak in that you’ve finally got here; that suddenly the view you have is out of this world.

Explore ~ By Isaac Gautschi

Only believe it or not, the momentum just keeps on going, with edits that are mind-boggling followed by more doubts, because even now, you don’t believe your book is good enough.  And then because Juliet works at supersonic speed and doesn’t sleep, before you can catch your breath, your book goes out.  On submission again – this time to publishers.

Even reading and rereading snippets of emails – the reactions of editors – still, it didn’t feel real.  Here I was, in the midst of the wettest, most horrible winter, in my layers of jumpers shivering at my desk, gazing out of the window at heavy skies and sodden fields and my poor wet chickens. Surreal was the only word that described it.

Watching the rain... by ~LoveSumer

One such particularly rain-sodden evening, I was driving my dying car that I couldn’t afford to fix.  It leaked when it rained and rolled like a boat because a shock absorber had gone.  The back door was tied shut with a bungee and I started it with a screwdriver because the ignition was completely b*******.  I’d been driving along in the dark, leaning forward to wipe the windscreen because the de-mister didn’t work either.
Then my mobile went off.  I remember pulling over to take a call from Juliet – ‘the Germans have made an offer!’ – sitting there, slightly giddy, while my car misted up and leaked and filled with the smell of damp dogs.  It seemed fantastical!  The collision of the two opposite worlds I now inhabited – I think.  Still completely surreal.

And then my mind went berserk with insecurity.
I haven’t had a contract! I said this to friends and family who were so thrilled and excited for me, because for what seemed like ages, I hadn’t.  But as I know now, these take time.
I haven’t actually been paid anything! I said this too. I think my car was dead by this point.
I keep thinking they’ve changed their mind! I actually said this to Juliet, who reassured me they hadn’t.  A few days later, the first contract was signed and I had my own copy.  I think by now it was safe to say it’s real.

Then one day, I had a different feeling.  I’d first felt it on New Year’s Eve, when I’d taken a moment just as the old year ended and the new one began, wondering what it would bring. It was tentative, but the best kind, about standing on the edge of something unknown, but new and completely wonderful.

Yes, the doubts come back to haunt you, which possibly isn’t a bad thing, but also, you need to believe.  Several months on, The Bones of You is being published next year.  Any day now I’m hoping to see the cover and I’ve nearly finished book 2.  I also have a newer car and it doesn’t leak.  Everything is as it should be…

4 Reader Comments

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  1. mrscarlielee says:

    So love your story, and can’t wait to read your book. Know exactly what you mean about the edge of something wonderful – you deserve it. Do we get a sneak preview of the cover?
    I think you’re fabulous, and inspiring,
    C x

  2. Will definitely share the cover – excited to see it myself! What a lovely thing to say. Thank you x

  3. Jacqui says:

    THE BONES OF YOU. One of the best books I have ever read!!! Thank you so much for keeping me entertained for the whole your book. I would race home from work to read the next chapter! I’m sorry that I finished the book. Would love to read more of your work! Thank you for a truly impressive read!

  4. Val Smith says:

    Just finished The Bones of You. Stunning. I almost cried at the end. Can’t wait for book 2.