Way back in March 2012, I sat at my kitchen table with my finger poised over the ‘Publish’ button on Amazon’s Kindle Publishing programme. My debut novel THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME was about to be launched to the reading world. Dare I? Should I? Would I press that button?
I waited for a moment for the sky to fall down, or for somebody to start a trumpet fanfare or to set off a firework display, but none of that happened. My book was launched with all the heady razzamatazz of a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit, and there was something very lovely about that.
For a couple of weeks, my little novel existed without any fuss or fanfare, but steadily the downloads and reader reviews crept up and up and by the summer THE GIRL had been to the very top of the Historical Fiction charts. I had a Kindle bestseller and THE GIRL was on her way.
Fast forward to May 2013 when I opened my email to find a lovely message from an agent in New York who had read THE GIRL on her Kindle, loved it and wanted to talk to me. It really was the stuff of dreams and within a matter of weeks, I was signed by the agent (the wonderful Michelle Brower) and was offered a two-book publishing deal with William Morrow Books (HarperCollins) to republish THE GIRL and to also publish my second novel. You can read all about the wonderful excitement of THAT experience, in this post (I am, by the way, still smiling like a Cheshire Cat).
What this all means in practical terms is that THE GIRL will be taken down from Amazon in a couple of weeks. Over the next six months, she will be dusted down, given a bit of a makeover and will return in early 2014 with a brand new cover and will be re-launched in trade paperback (the big paperback) format. Think of it as a very long – and well deserved – spa break, from which she will return with a healthy glow and an infectious joie de vivre.
But before she disappears for a brief while, I want to say thank you to everyone who has read THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME in her current format. I have been very, very touched by the lovely reviews, email messages and tweets from readers, telling me how much they loved the book. It has been a wonderful, and very unexpected, experience and spurred me on to write book two.
So, for now I will bid a slightly teary adieu to THE GIRL as I have known her. I have grown incredibly, incredibly fond of her since those early first drafts and, like a proud mother, I am SO excited to see where she goes from here. She is, and always will be, my very first novel and, because of that, she will always be a very special book to me. I will miss having her around, but I cannot wait to welcome her home – once again – in the New Year with a new look. I will have the tea and neatly arranged biscuits (and possibly something a little stronger!) on standby and THE GIRL and I will set sail all over again.