I’ve been hiding away, working with incredible writers who are having fun with post-it notes and putting their words in order while also ghost writing and taking on at least three different personas each week. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
This morning, I stepped into my usual persona to answer the front door as I had a surprise delivery. Signing for the box, I wasn’t sure what I had ordered. I haven’t done any Christmas shopping yet, the box didn’t come from Amazon and the only delivery I was expecting was the food shopping, which definitely wasn’t going to appear in a little box, delivered by UPS.
Thanks to this little box, I’m ending 2017 on a high. My fabulous publisher sent six pre-publication author copies of the final book in my teen fiction trilogy. It’s not going to be released until September 2018, so I wasn’t expecting these copies and as the book had been signed off about four months ago, I hadn’t given it a second thought.
The magic of holding your book in your hands doesn’t go away. The excitement of seeing your name on the cover is indescribable, time after time.
These books are inspired by my own story. I created a teenage character to share the story in a way that resonates with my young-adult audience. Dani Moore has become my friend. I know her and I’ve grown with her. She has taken the story in directions I had never considered in the initial planning stages. She has taught me an enormous amount about trusting your characters as they speak through the words that appear on the page. She has given me permission to let go and to be surprised by the direction the story takes. The message hasn’t been lost, it has been strengthened by Dani doing things her way. I admire her. I wish I had been more like her as a teenager!
The first book, Reggie & Me was published in 2014 and reached the final of The People’s Book Prize in 2015. It was the catalyst for my social enterprise and it has opened so many doors for me to share my message with the world. The excitement and pride that I feel today as the third and final book in the trilogy is in my hands is equal to, if not greater than, the feeling I had in 2014. Dani is changing lives and I’m honoured to have been the conduit through which she came life.
For this moment, I showed up day after day to plan the book, write the book, rewrite the book and learn something new with each and every chapter. I’d love to tell you it was a joyous and cathartic process, but it wasn’t. It took discipline and self-motivation. It took a desire to share a message and a single minded, some might say stubborn, belief that it was worth the investment in time, money and energy. It meant battling demons about visibility, about people judging me, about the fear that I’d get painful reviews and that little voice that won’t shut up, whispering, ‘who do you think you are?’
Who do I think I am? Well, I’m someone who showed up, did the work and wrote the words. I’m someone who decided that the risk was worth taking. I’m someone who’s still scared when I see a new review has been submitted. I’m someone who wanted to share a message of hope, based on my story.
Was it worth it?
If you’re ready to make 2018 your year. If you want to make 2018 the year that you hold your book in your hands, join me! The New Year will see the six-month programme re-opening and a new online programme to support you in writing your book. Exciting times!