Thanksgiving Day 2013 and my novel comes out after spending years getting ready.
Day One is great: congratulations arrive on Facebook, in cards and by email. I don’t have a launch party but I go to Women in Journalism’s Christmas bash. Everyone can see that I’m floating about 6″ off the ground. That’s because I’m wearing red suede heels like these.
By Day Two, I’m seeing stars in the form of my first review. Five stars to be exact, and from an author I respect hugely. I tell all my friends, which means I post the news on Twitter. Writers lose their real friends because they spend all their time writing.
On Day Three I see a neighbour who wants to know all about my book. When I explain how she can buy a copy, for instance here, I get a blank look. She asks “What do you mean, buy?”
It’s the Primrose Hill Christmas Festival on Day Four The place is crawling with models, writers, actors, whatever (MWA, darling). I don’t see any celebs out and about with their noses in my novel, but I spot these supermodels in their new winter coats.
Monday night is Day Five. I attend the British Lung Foundation’s Christmas Carols by Candlight at St Pancras Church. It’s a big occasion so I’m wearing THE shoes off the cover, not a stand-in pair. Along with Linda Robson, Tommy Walsh and David Oakes, I read a poem. By now my book and I are feeling proper festive.
But that day my elderly mother has another fall and can’t stand up. I catch a flight out as soon as I can.
She’s in a geriatric hospital. Her lipstick tells me she’s still fighting but the rest of her tells a different story. She has severe osteoporosis and has broken several more bones. They give her morphine which barely helps her pain. You have to work up gradually to the right dose and we’re not there yet.
The red heels have come off. I sit by her bed and help her drink from a drinker, the kind my children had as toddlers.
This, now, is reality. Fiction? That’s just escapism. But what a welcome escape it can be.