It’s a big day today. First day of a new school year for my son (my daughter goes back for one measly hour tomorrow). He’s half excited, half nervous, looking forward to seeing his friends, being right at the top of primary school. Wondering what his new teacher will be like, and if there will be any new kids in his class.
It’s a big day for me as well. My second book is published today. Watching a book go out into the world is a little bit like watching one's child start a new school. Will it make any friends? Will it be successful?
My new book Almost True is a sequel to my first one, When I Was Joe. So it’s got a big brother, if you like, to help it along. But, just like children, you want the younger one to make their own way, be judged on their own merits. They’re together, yet separate. And getting more independent of me - the mother/author - all the time.
Parents/authors tend to worry about their offspring/books in the early days to the extent that they forget that any other child/book exists. But once they’re at school/on sale you realise that your child/book is one amongst many. Each has their own talents and gifts. Each finds its own way. Some might hang out in that popular paranormal crowd. Some make it onto a team/series. Others are stand-alone loners. When your baby/book is conceived you often don’t know quite which way it’s heading.
Sometimes your child/book does amazing things all on its own. It wins prizes, perhaps, or makes lots and lots of friends. It passes all those tests and examinations set by reviewers, librarians and booksellers.
But perhaps it might make mistakes, or offend and upset people. Or fail to attract people's attention, never quite reaching its potential. How responsible are you, the parent/author? How much can you blame or thank the teachers/publishers and all the other people who influence your child/book.
So, if you see my boy…errr...book…think of me, the anxious mum sitting at home. I'll be wondering how things are going. Have I done my work well? Is it ready to face the world without me?