The announcement of my YA book deal with Firefly came pinging onto my phone as I attempted to navigate the school summer fair. Picture me with four kids, three plant pots and a bag of assorted purchases, trying to make sense of the tweets that were streaming onto my phone.
(Small pause while I let fly a whoop and a yeeeehaw!)
Dozens have congratulated me, expressing delight, surprise and excitement, with the following few days being everything I dreamed it would be. The writing community are a wonderfully generous bunch.
What surprised me however was the number of people that wanted to check I was celebrating. Of course I was celebrating – here I was, over-using emoji & capital letters – I was the very epitome of a person celebrating. But it got me wondering – what had I done to mark the moment?
I hadn’t dared celebrate when the offer came through. Although not superstitious, I couldn’t allow myself to believe it, let alone celebrate. Once the contract was signed, still no formal celebration, though lots of quiet texts to close friends. But surely, once announced, I would be doing something.
Fortunately my other half isn’t so constrained by my fears. The week the offer came he bought me this; a picture I had admired months earlier. It is now hung in our kitchen reminding all who come into our home that dreams are possible.
‘Imagination can take you anywhere’ by Sam Toft
But perhaps celebrating isn’t an act or a thing, perhaps it’s a state of mind; to stop, recognise, acknowledge and savour the moment. People talk about bottling a feeling. Maybe the trick is to fully feel and enjoy the emotion at the time.
As writers we’re very good at feeling the full pain of rejection. Perhaps when good times come along, we need to work at actively searching out the full height of the joy. Think back to when your good news felt beyond your reach, an impossibility that only happened to others and feel pleased with yourself that even when you were tempted to stop, you didn’t. You kept going, kept working, kept putting one word after another.
So in that spirit I intend to relish this feeling; for the next few days, a week, a month, for however long I can. It has taken an incredible amount of work to get to this point (if you’ve been following this blog, you will know!) and now I’m here, I plan to enjoy every single second of it.
Oh, and I treated myself to an eye-wateringly expensive Orla Kiely notepad.
The deal details…
Firefly have acquired my diverse, ‘Up Lit’ summer YA – Summer of No Regrets. For those not in the publishing world, Up Lit is feel-good fiction and YA stands for Young Adult, so for teenagers. It is due to be published in May 2019.
Firefly editor Rebecca Lloyd says: ‘Summer of No Regrets is a perfect, heart-warming read for teenage girls, with a mix of humour, sensitivity and real-life issues. Its socially and ethnically diverse group of girls have wonderfully authentic and supportive relationships – it is a life-enhancing celebration of friendship.’
I am savouring this moment. It is my daydream come true.
Image courtesy of Freepik/freepic.diller