If you only get one review …

And before I start, no, I didn’t hypnotise Amanda Craig. Or bribe her with chocolate. Actually, there was one chocolate included in the presentation box (!) sent to reviewers, but it was very small and I didn’t send it personally.

Tomorrow (today in 5 minutes) I’ll be at a regimental reunion with my parents (army child) and I’ll be signing the odd book for their friends, which will be TOTALLY WEIRD, but in a nice way. The friends have been emailing over the last few days to say that they’ve loyally bought copies for their neices, granddaughters, goddaughters etc, but that they’ve got so engrossed in the book themselves that they may have to go out for more. I like these kind of emails. I really do. Keep them coming, I say.

However, much as I love my parents and their friends (and my own, who’ve been texting with the same sort of thing), my brain will be largely elsewhere. It will be buried in the books section of The Times.

At last I can talk about Amanda’s review of Threads for The Times. It’s strange. It’s my first Real Proper Review, and possibly my last, but very obviously the best. Odd to think that I’ll never manage to beat it, but quite a relief, in a way, to think that the pressure’s off. Having just finished book 2 (well, I’m still at the paragraph tweaking stage, but nearly nearly there), I’m thrown back to how I felt this time last year, when I was approaching the finish line for book 1 and I knew what I was trying to do, but I was fairly certain that I hadn’t actually done it.

I thought I’d written something fun and readable. But I was convinced it would take serious re-engineering to turn it into a real book, and that it would probably never fully convey the heady mixture of froth and planet-saving zeal that had inspired me to write it. I was just hoping that it would get me onto a path where one day, far into the future, I might be able to pull it off.

Now, if I wanted to be paranoid, I might be worried the other way: will I be able to walk the same tightrope in book 2 without falling off? However, luckily I don’t care. I’m trying. I’m trying as hard as I did in book 1, but if only Threads itself ends up speaking to Amanda, and my parents’ friends, and mine, that’s kind of fine. It’s good enough.

Am I hanging on for a film deal? Nope. OF COURSE it would be lovely, but it’s still completely in the realm of fantasy for me. I think that right now, I’m just hoping that a bunch of people, like Amanda, who love Nonie and Edie and Jenny and Crow, will be waiting to see what happens to them next and will feel, when they get to the last page, that I’ve done them justice.

Fingers crossed. And guess who’s now at the top of this year’s Christmas card list.

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