Friday, 2 November 2007
Publication Day dawns in Devon
The Russian Concubine is out there.
I did in fact spot it first in WHSmiths as I arrived in Paddington Station in London. What better start to Publication Day? Their Read of the Week.
And yes, I confess, in the Charing Cross Road branch of Borders I did actually walk in and fiddle with the display, so that the lovely cover was facing outward on the shelf instead of just the spine. Well, it's The Russian Concubine's birthday, for heaven's sake, so it's the least it deserves.
Seeing it there in the shops makes me realise how much I love this book. How anxious I am for it. Like a mother on her child's first day at school, a mixture of pride and nerves and that churning feeling in the pit of the stomach. You want them to come home with five gold stars.
A book is an extension of an author, no matter how much they claim that the story is fiction and the characters are figments of an over-active imagination. Writers distil a vital part of themselves on to every page, as much into 'bad' characters as into the 'good' ones. In an odd kind of way, it's a bit like being a stripper because you have to be willing to expose so much of yourself to the gaze of total strangers. That can be daunting, but I believe it's what makes a book work, that emotional connection with the reader. It's crucial.
The LittleBrown/Sphere team gave me and my agent, Teresa, a great launch lunch party at Moro's and drowned my nerves in champagne. They are a brilliant group of people, hugely professional but at the same time tremendously supportive and great fun. I am very lucky to be working with them.
And flowers. They sent me flowers as well. What more could I ask for?