I can hardly believe that I have at last sent the final draft of The Spice Merchant’s Wife to my publisher, Piatkus.
It’s been a long slog and although I’m passionate about my writing, it’s hard to fit it in around the day job. Self discipline is essential but the reward of seeing your book published and hearing from readers who have enjoyed it make all the hard work worthwhile.
The manuscript has been cut from nearly 150,000 words to a more manageable 114,000 words and polished to the best of my ability with patient advice from my lovely editor, Lucy Icke. I’ve learned a great deal by working on three novels with Lucy and would strongly advise all writers who wish to self-publish to employ the services of an editor first.
So, what’s next?
Well, I’m putting together the ‘end matter’, the pages that often go at the end of the novel. There will be historical notes, acknowledgements, author biography and a bibliography. In this case I shall include a recipe for the Cinnamon and Raisin cake that was a particular favourite of Toby, one of the characters in The Spice Merchant’s Wife. I’m sitting here with a generous slice of the cake beside me as I write since I wanted to test the recipe before I included it in the book. I always take my research seriously, especially when it involves cake!
Once the end matter has been sent off I’ll tidy my desk and put all the reference books away before starting on a novelette, which must be completed and delivered by April.
Then the mass market paperback of The Painter’s Apprentice is due on the bookshelves on 1st February.
The proofs of The Spice Merchant’s Wife will arrive for checking in a few weeks and meanwhile I’m booked to give several talks about my novels.
The Apothecary’s Daughter has been shortlisted for the RoNa’s in the historical category and there will be an exciting awards ceremony and party on the 26th February.
It’s an odd feeling that I needn’t get up at 5am tomorrow or spend every lunchtime, weekend and evening working on the manuscript of The Spice Merchant’s Wife. The novel has been the focus of my time for so many months that I feel strangely bereft. It reminds me of the times my children left home to fend for themselves in the big, bad world.
Not having a novel in progress makes me very unsettled, so already I’m researching the C18th and jotting down ideas in my notebook as they occur to me, waiting for that wonderful flash of inspiration that will breathe fire into the next novel.