Last week, I started to write a blog post rounding up the highlights of 2014, of which there have been many. But I got distracted by life and Christmas and stuff, and when I went back to read my post this morning it all felt a bit bloated and gassy (fitting, for the time of year, I suppose). So, I deleted it.
Instead, I simply want to say … THANK YOU!
A GREAT BIG MASSIVE THANK YOU, to everyone who bought my book this year, in whatever format, from whichever retailer and wherever you are in the world.
For the past five years, I’ve written the same thing in the front of my diary for the coming year. It said: THE YEAR I GET PUBLISHED (and was usually embellished with shooting stars and underlined A LOT because, you know, these things make a difference). Finally, 2014 was the year when it happened. There have been a lot of ‘hoorays!!’ and exclamation marks!!!!! (see). I still can’t quite believe it, or find the words to say what it means to me to be published, but it happened, and complete strangers (that’s you) who knew absolutely nothing about me (or the shooting stars in my diary) picked up The Girl Who Came Home and read it. Hooray!!!!! (sorry).
Dozens of you then contacted me to tell me what the book meant to you. I replied to – and kept – every single one of those messages. Some made me smile. Some made me laugh. Others made me shed a little tear (nobody knows this, except the cat, and she’s promised never to tell). THANK YOU to everyone who wrote to me. I appreciate every single message.
As well as being a writer, I am also (of course) a reader and have gushed with admiration about several books this year and have been lucky enough to meet and interview some amazing writers. My favourite books in 2014 were THE MINIATURIST (Jessie Burton), BURIAL RITES (Hannah Kent), THE LOVE SONG OF MISS QUEENIE HENNESSEY (Rachel Joyce) and AFTER THE WAR IS OVER (Jennifer Robson). I’ve also had the privilege of reading an advance copy of Nuala O’Connor’s forthcoming MISS EMILY, a beautiful book which is going to be a huge hit in 2015 (you heard it here first).
I’m now eagerly awaiting the publication of my second novel, A Memory of Violets, which will be released in February. That I have the opportunity to ride this rollercoaster for the second time in a year is amazing and exhilarating and daunting, all at the same time. I can only hope that my second novel will be received with as much warmth as the first (insert nervous laughter). In the meantime, there’s the small matter of writing ‘book three’ to distract me (insert more nervous laughter).
To sum up, and at risk of repeating myself, THANK YOU for reading and for supporting me in this wonderful, crazy, frustrating, exciting job of writing. Have a very happy Christmas and here’s to all those delicious unturned pages awaiting us in 2015. Where, oh where will they take us …