Happy Birthday

We have two family birthdays this week, so I’ve been baking, shopping, organising, wrapping and generally worrying about whether or not we will mark the days with enough fanfare. It’s silly, really. The ingredients of a good birthday celebration, for me, are:

  • a great home-made cake, preferably flavoured with fresh orange juice and peel
  • tea in bed
  • smiling, happy family
  • one or two presents to open. Doesn’t matter what they are, as long as they’re nicely wrapped
  • a funny birthday card from my husband
  • bubbles

And that’s kind of it. I think it’s true for most of our family and yet somehow we get caught up in the parties, balloons, endless boxes arriving from Amazon and general stress.

All of which means I’ve missed out on another birthday that I meant to mark with some sort of celebration. Threads officially came out at the beginning of September last year. So much happened in the months leading up to it, and so much has happened since, that the date just sort of floated by. But I wanted to remember some highlights of the last year while they’re still fresh. Here are the ones that spring to mind:

  • My book on the shelves of Waterstones in Kensington High Street, which was the first time I ever saw it in the wild. Took pictures. Posted them on this blog. Felt good.
  • Seeing a girl take Threads out of her school backpack and read it on her way home
  • My launch party at Village Books in Wandsworth. Old friends and family, plus the people who kept me going while I was writing the book. It was my way of saying thank you and I loved every single minute. One of my favourite parties ever
  • Joining the Society of Authors and putting their blue card in my wallet
  • Changing my occupation on Linked-In to Writer
  • The Threads reviews. Thank you to every single person who’s written about Threads. I couldn’t be more grateful
  • The fan mail. Thank you to every single person who’s written to me. You are wonderful. You totally keep me going
  • The school and book group visits. Fabulous. To everyone who came, and everyone who organised – thank you. You were amazing
  • The letters from my parents’ friends, who’ve known me since I was in nappies, telling me how much they enjoyed the book
  • The festival talks. Wonderful. Best of all – the panel at the Hay Festival alongside Francesca Simon, Patrick Ness, Julia Eccleshare and Maurice Gleizman, among others. That was a surreal and extremely fun experience. Definitely one for the grandchildren
  • Sitting round a table at Chicken House with Barry and the rest of the team, outlining the plot for Beads, Boys & Bangles. Mostly with my hands
  • Visiting New York with my stepdaughters to research Sequins, Stars & Spotlights
  • Judging the Threads fashion competition and then going to the Matthew Williamson show with Jewel Simpfendorfer, who won. Jewel getting her picture taken by Scott Schuman of The SartoriaList, which is one of my favourite blogs
  • Working on books 2 and 3 with the help of Imogen and Nicki. And on the US version of book 1 with Siobhan. I have editors! I am SO LUCKY!
  • Making virtual friends with a group of supportive writers from all around the UK and beyond. Cheering each other up and egging each other on
  • My youngest son spotting my books on Amazon (did I happen to be checking them out there? Maybe) and saying ‘Mummy’s books’
  • My elder son quietly telling someone that his mummy was a writer

So if book 4 goes pear-shaped, and if I end up back in one of my old jobs, with just a bunch of memories (and a blue card in my wallet), that’s not so bad. They’re a lot of great memories for one short year. Enough to keep me going for a long time. Happy Birthday Threads. Sorry it’s late.

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