As 2012 counts down its final minutes I find myself reflecting on what an extraordinary year it’s been; not just in terms of Queen and country (Jubilee, Olympics); not just for family (one brother’s film spent the year racking up awards, another launched his debut art exhibition and had a piece selected for the National Biennial, our late mother received a posthumous parenting award from the great and good of my birth nation); but for me personally.
When the year started I was an underemployed freelance consultant who had taken the uncharacteristically irresponsible step of bunking off for most of 2011 to, of all things, write a novel. It was an itch I needed to scratch, an intellectual and artistic exercise, a labour of love. In the hope that someone besides me and a few friends might want to read it, my first task of 2012 was sending it out to agents, in the sure and certain knowledge that interest (if there ever was any) would be long in coming and publication (if it ever happened) wouldn’t happen for a good long while. I popped the packages in the post and told myself sternly to forget about it for now and get back to doing some real, i.e. pay-the-bills, work.
I’m ending 2012 with that novel less than three months away from publication, it’s sequel two-thirds written, and a third book due after that.
I think that when I tell people this was unexpected they think I’m being modest. I’m not. This has been a gobsmackingly, flabbergastingly, never-in-my-wildest-dreams sort of year.
So I want to say thank you – to the first few friends and family who said I wasn’t crazy to skive off and write, and to the wider circle who later read and commented and encouraged; to Rachel Dench who made a particular point of recommending me to Ian Drury, and to Ian for listening to the new girl in the office, reading the manuscript and offering to represent me; to Jo Fletcher for buying not just the book I’d written but two I hadn’t – yet; to Nicola Budd and Lucy Ramsey and the rest of the Quercus/JFB team for all the work they’ve done and will do behind the scenes to polish and package and promote my books and help me learn the things I’ll need to know; to the truly lovely people I’ve met in the SFF community, who are friendly and welcoming and full of lore and wisdom; and finally to everyone I’ve met, or who has stopped by the blog or the Facebook page or the intermittent Twitter feed. Everyone who’s said, ‘Wow, that sounds cool. I’d like to read that.’ You have all made this my best year ever.