Today sees the publication of my new novel, The Love Child.  It makes me happy to write that, happier still to see my labours bound so beautifully and available for public consumption.  But there are other trickier feelings floating around too.  Such as a mild sense of anticlimax (it takes so * long *to reach this point!), and nervousness as to how it will be received.  Because The Love Child, like all my books (this is my 15th), has a small piece of my own heart in it, and I know only too well that the world can be a cruel and critical place.

Oddest of all on publication day, however, is the dim sense of detachment that accompanies it.  This is partly because the production process demands months of objectivity - there are jacket options to mull over, blurbs to write, publicity ideas to kick around, launch events to organise.  No wonder then, that by the time the novel is pushed out into the world it has started to feel inherently separate and independent from the scribbling hopes that began two years ago.  But more than that, every author learns that a certain letting-go is necessary, just as parents have, at some stage to dare to grant freedom to their offspring.  The work has been done.  It only remains for the 'fruit' of that work to be set free, to sink, or swim, or (most likely!) paddle around, according to its own strengths.  I might have written The Love Child, but as its creator I am now largely irrelevant.  It is my new work-in-progress that needs me now (page 99 at the last count).  So I am going to turn my attentions to that... ut not till after spot of champagn... ossibly even quite a lot.

For those that buy The Love Child, I thank you and wish you well.  I hope it gives you something... ntertainment, pleasure, maybe a little pain.  But don't come crying to me if it doesn't.