I'm typing this as we sit in the departure lounge of a Spanish airport, waiting for a delayed flight to somewhere we don't want to go but is at least in the UK, on our second attempt to get home from our summer holiday. The pug is waiting for us (being looked after, don't worry) and I missed last night's party for Transworld's 60th anniversary, but it isn't too bad. It's been a nice break.
All has been fairly quiet on the book front for a couple of days. Mercifully. I was warned (and it is fairly obvious) that the process of publishing is characterised by intense bursts of activity (demands for drafts, edits, decisions to be made about jackets or whether a section should be italicised) followed by fairly protracted longueurs in which nothing much seems to happen at all (or, rather, the work is falling on people other than me and I really ought to be working on the next book).
The bound proofs (Australia/Text)
One such burst ended a few days ago. I wasn't even going to bring my laptop on this holiday, but I am glad that, at the last moment, I slipped it in next to my flip-flops. Not only have I finished the book and sent it off for editing/translating, but I've been answering questions about dedications, acknowledgements (my next big challenge - sheer terror at the thought of missing someone off!) and epigraphs. Text, in Australia, are producing an extremely limited run of bound proofs so that they can get the book into the hands of their major booksellers as well as a couple of authors , so they've been busy preparing the text for that. It was weird, seeing the pdf of my text, formatted and ready to be bound, but exhilarating. Another step closer to it being a 'real' book.
The first print run (US/HarperCollins)
We also learned how many copies HarperCollins are going to print for the first run in the US. I'm not going to say (mostly because I'm not sure I'm allowed to), but I will say I'm not disappointed. I don't think the book is going to be difficult to find over there, let's put it like that. It's hugely gratifying, though - a real sign that the team at HC feel that Before I Go to Sleep deserves to be a success. I guess once a writer has been lucky enough to find a publishing deal, their next worry is that, on release, the book might just dribble out, unnoticed. So it's nice to know that Claire's team in America seem to have big plans...
And, meanwhile, I'm finding that ideas are pouring out of me for the next book, Nine Lives. I've been concentrating on Before I Go to Sleep for so long, yet it seems that, for the last few weeks at least, ideas have been percolating through, waiting for the moment my conscious mind is ready to receive and process them. It feels great to be back in the position where I'm reaching for the notebook in the middle of the night, jotting down sentences, some of which make sense the following morning ('MC's job? Airline? Hairdresser? Actress?') and some of which don't ('make it more orange'). I feel like I'm back in the thick of it again, machete in hand, searching for the path. I bloody love it, which is why I'll never, ever complain about having to bring my laptop and notebook on holiday. I wouldn't have it any other way.