So the bound proofs are in, and are going out again. I was given a few when I was at Transworld on Tuesday, and most of those went to my ex-coursemates when I went out for a drink with them on Friday. It was good timing - I wanted them to be amongst the first to actually get one of the final versions of the book. Without them the book would have been very different, and to say that their input into the early stages of the book was invaluable would be an understatement. Their help was sometimes very practical ('Why don't you try....?') and sometimes less tangible, though no less important ('Come on, of course you can make it work!', often conveyed non-verbally) but it was all absolutely vital and utterly profound.
As the three of us who were there are all at different stage in a new book we talked a lot about the importance of having someone in your life who you can show work to but who will be honest with you. All of the advice says not to show your work to your family, loved ones or someone you're sleeping with as their judgement will always be tempered with a desire to spare your feelings and possible create an easier life for themselves ('It's wonderful, darling' will always lead to a less fractious exchange than 'Well, it's OK but I think you can do better'). I realised (again, I've never really forgotten), how lucky I am to have N, whose judgement is never less than honest, who never lets me get away with anything less than my best, and who will risk an entire evening of me sulking like a child denied his favourite toy in order to help me to improve my work. Thank you N.
What else? I've read an absolutely brilliant book in manuscript. It's coming out next year (certainly in Australia, I'm not sure where else) and is written by Alice LaPlante. It's called Turn of Mind and is definitely one to watch I think. Oh, and I've also given a copy of Before I Go to Sleep to my brother-in-law - we're hoping to work on a very exciting (to me at least!) project together, but more on that when something's definite.
There, I think that's probably it for now...