Every time I look at that shelf I feel amazed at what I’ve done
This photograph popped up on my timeline over on Facebook today, reminding me of the pure exhilaration and joy I felt on this day exactly four years ago. This was the moment I nestled my own paperback, Invisible, on my bookshelf. I kept stepping back and gazing at it, as if afraid it might disappear into the dream it surely must be. I’d written a book. A whole book! How? Would I ever manage to write another one? To be honest, at that moment I wouldn’t have minded if I hadn’t, because to simply have done it once was the fulfilment of a lot of fantasising and even more hard work. So many people want to write a book; fewer ever get round to starting; even less finish. To have done that much was cause for celebration.
The dream had started around six and a half years earlier, when I got my Big Idea, but coalesced into something more solid and serious five years ago (oddly enough, almost to the day). Because five years ago I finally managed to successfully persuade my boss to let me take voluntary redundancy from my job as special projects editor (my role was to design new magazines, relaunch older ones that needed freshening up, and also edit a real life mag I’d just launched along with fabulous magazine designer Ali Christie). My 40th birthday was approaching, and with it the growing feeling that now was the time to do something crazy, jump from my well-paid job, and gamble everything on trying to become a successful author. It was stupid, irresponsible, rash… It was absolutely the right thing to do.
A year later, I self-published Invisible. It was eventually joined on my bookshelf by Flowers For The Dead. I signed with my publisher, Bookouture, in October 2016, and last year two more titles, The Darkest Lies, and Her Last Secret, snuggled beside my self-published books.
Four years, four books. I’m not the most prolific of authors, but every time I look at that shelf I feel amazed at what I’ve done. Today is a very special day – one that would have passed me by without Facebook reminding me. I wish I could tell my past self not to worry, because the silly decision to quit my job would be one I have never, even for a moment, regretted. Dreams have come true, and been replaced with new ones. Tomorrow, who can say what might turn up?