I have never asked a new mother if she’s done this, but I imagine I might:
I visualise a quiet, dark house, sitting cradling my baby, exhausted and overwhelmed. And I imagine making wishes for that baby. That they will be happy, and confident, and know they are loved. That they will grow up in a world that has an NHS, and acceptance, and creativity. That there will still be trees and parks and a way to grow up that doesn’t involve receiving some sort of Wi-Fi tracking chip in the back of the neck.
And I wonder if we make these wishes for everything we create. The things we bring to life, we wish them well as they make their way in the world, suddenly separate from us.
My ninth novel, Cocktails and Dreams, was released this week.
For a long time, I didn’t have any goals for my books. Or rather, they were the same ones: maybe it’ll be a bestseller, maybe it’ll sell well and become a paperback and I’ll see it in WhSmiths when I’m at the airport and then I can be a full time writer and be a success!
Parents will tell you how dangerous it is to pin all your hopes and dreams on one kid. It’s not fair on them, and they don’t get to grow in their own way. And you know, obviously I realise books aren’t actually babies.
This book, I have set up as best I can in life – she had a wonderful editor, and a beautiful cover. She’s had a whole load of support from a publishing team. She’s got a blog tour, and people are starting to know who she is. I gave her my best, and I hope people like her.
But you can’t assume a book will be ‘the one’ any more than you can decide you’ve hit 35 and it’s about damn time ‘the one’ came along. Because sometimes there is no ‘one’.
So here’s what I wish for you, Cocktails and Dreams:
- I hope people are fair in their criticisms, and you don’t get any one star Amazon reviews because people couldn’t open the document properly.
- I hope you get 100 reviews, because that would be cool and you’d be more impressive than all your sisters.
- I hope no one uses a gif on Goodreads to tell you how crap you are and that they hope your mother never writes again.
- I hope you hang around the top hundred in the charts, because there’s some damn cool people hanging around that spot, and I will take loads of pictures of you hanging out with them.
- I hope people are excited to meet your siblings, because book number nine will be joining you in February. Don’t get jealous now. I love you all equally.