Sunday, 22 August 2010

Lunch with Tess Gerritsen

I had lunch with Tess Gerritsen this week. I was up in Edinburgh at the festival, and she was in town to talk about her new book, The Killing Place, and we share both an editor and a publicist, Alison, so it made sense. I had a wonderful time – despite her jetlag Tess (or Terry) was funny, fascinating and full of advice as to what I might have in store next year – and I managed to get to the end of lunch before telling her that my mother is her biggest fan and asking for a signed copy of her book.

One thing she said struck me, though. We were talking about Facebook and Twitter and so on and Alison told Terry that I was already fairly prolific online. 'You should blog about what’s happening to you,' said Terry. 'Lots of people want to know how to become a writer. You’re someone that it’s happened to, so you should write about it. That’s what people will be interested in.’ I nodded enthusiastically, but I suppose that’s something I haven’t really been doing.

Things have happened very quickly for me. In May I was still struggling to finish editing my book, only daring to hope that perhaps my agent would find an editor who would take a chance on it and publish it in the UK. As I write this in August we have now secured publishing deals that will see my novel published all over the world.

I think I’ve been too embarrassed, too ‘English’ about the whole thing. I'm still trying to get used to the fact that someone – anyone - has actually ready my book and liked it, so the fact that Tess Gerritsen said she was fifty pages in and 'having a great time with it' still doesn't really seem real. No one would be very interested in what’s happening to me, I’ve been saying to myself. Wouldn’t it be seen as arrogant to write about myself in anything but the most superficial level? It’s the book that’s important, isn’t it, surely?

And yes, it is, of course. But just two years ago I was working in the NHS, struggling to create enough space in my life for my writing, and now I’m having lunch with Tess Gerritsen and her publicist, who is also my publicist. The journey so far has been extraordinary. Perhaps people will be interested in what’s happened, and what’s continuing to happen. Perhaps that is what I should be writing about.

Here, then, is where I plan to write about what’s happening, as well as to fill in some of the back story as we go along. Let’s see how it goes…

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