Nothing comes close to the safe birth of your baby. But the launch of a book – particularly the first one – inspires similar feelings in an author.
The whole bittersweet process from conception, through gestation to final delivery takes so long and is so marked by various ups and downs along the way that the actual birth of a book is attended by a mix of rapture and relief.
The long months of writing, rewriting, revision, editing and the final painstaking process of proofreading can be equally exhausting and exhilarating. But when you finally hold that small bundle of joy in your hands, all the hassle and heartache is forgotten. All you feel is love.
The birth day of my first novel, The Scoop, was on August 1, 2018. Marked by an event in Noosa, an iconic beach town on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast that I call my home. Nearly 100 people, mainly friends and family, came along to celebrate with me.
I was also honoured by the presence of two senior representatives from my publishers Simon & Schuster, Australia – Managing Director Dan Ruffino and Managing Editor Roberta ‘Bert’ Ivers. Bert acted as my main editor and held my hand throughout the process. Her biggest compliment came on the night of the book launch. This is what she said: ‘You are an editor’s writer. You do not balk at murdering your babies.’ I blinked at that. Did she think I was a psychopath? But then I realized she meant that I was prepared to cut as many words as necessary to make the story sing and the action zing. As a former newspaper editor, I knew exactly what she meant.
That night is all a bit of a blur now – the speeches, the signing, the backslapping but I’m told it went well. And we sold more than a few books on the night.
But the real test comes when your baby goes out into the world. And another thrill came when I saw it sitting on the bookshelves … in one case flanked by top author Michael Robotham and the double act of James Patterson and Bill Clinton. I was further delighted when friends sent me photos of The Scoop displayed in the Newslink stores at both Sydney and Melbourne airports as a ‘Pick of the Month’.
A new chapter in my life indeed. And now on to the next one: The Editor, my second thriller in the Jonno Bligh series. The first draft is written but I still face the now familiar and stressful incubation period of nine months until it is delivered to bookstores in 2019.