People often ask me what a publication day is like. As my third novel is published today, I will share with you the fantasy and the reality.
In my head, I wake on publication day around 8 o’clock to my husband delivering breakfast in bed (a lightly poached egg, glass of Bucks Fizz, coffee in my favourite mug) and presenting me with copies of all the major broadsheets, who are carrying glowing reviews of my ‘literary triumph’. My children join us and demand that I read out ‘the funny bits with the kids’, from my latest tome. After breakfast, the doorbell rings as the first bouquet of the day arrives. From this moment onwards, it’s a steady stream of flower and champagne gifts throughout the morning. I turn to Twitter to field the raft of congratulatory tweets and bask in the warmth of the writing community’s love. My phone rings. It’s JK Rowling asking if I want to be best friends. I graciously accept. The day is spent in a haze of leisurely, bookish joy before I head into London for my publication day party held at a trendy back-street literary club. All my writing friends are there. JK keeps topping up my champagne glass. Nigel Slater has done the cooking. We drink, laugh and have the most wonderful evening. The next day I feel warm, happy and hangover free.
In reality, I wake on publication day around 6.50 to the sound of that day’s disturbing headlines on my clock radio. I keep my eyes shut and drift back into troubled sleep. I wake at 7.20 to my husband delivering the news that I am seriously late. I swear and haul my sorry backside out of bed. My children join us and demand breakfast. I grumble my way around the kitchen trying to find the makings of two healthy packed lunches. I fail. After breakfast, the doorbell rings as a package for next door arrives. From this moment, it’s hell on earth as I try to encourage, persuade and co-erce the children to get ready for school. We fling ourselves out of the door and into the car. I curse the traffic, the awful radio station the kids insist on listening to and life in general but we make it just in time. I turn to Twitter to field the raft of congratulatory tweets and bask in the warmth of the writing community’s love. My phone rings. It’s my husband asking if I can manage without the car next Tuesday so that they can fix the parking sensor. I ungraciously agree. The day is spent watching both my children compete in their school sports day in a haze of dehydration and maternal pride. After school, I ferry my son to his swimming lesson. Back home, I try to decipher his Year 2 maths homework (tricky) and my ten-year-old daughter’s geometry homework (impossible). After dinner, I play tennis and return home at nine o’clock for my publication day party held in the back garden (conservatory if wet). My husband and I are the only two in attendance. I keep topping up my prosecco glass. My husband has poured crisps into a bowl. We drink, laugh and have the most wonderful evening. The next day I feel warm, happy and very hungover.