Having a novel published for the first time was both exhilarating and scary. While it was wonderful to see my book in print, this collection of words I had somehow managed to put down on paper—now other people would read them. Those who read lesbian fiction I wasn’t too worried about. They would either like it or not. And obviously my publisher and editor thought it was a good story. But there were friends and family now going to read it, and lesbian romance wasn’t a genre of choice for any of them. My mother and sister both said they enjoyed the story. Other friends and relatives have been surprised, I think, to find out what goes on in my head.
When the book came out in paperback I gave a copy to a friend, a former English teacher. Weeks passed and she didn’t mention it, and I was afraid to ask. Then just before Christmas my partner and I were enjoying a glass of mulled wine in a local café and my friend’s husband came in. After ordering their drinks he sat down at a table nearby. Looking over, he recognised me, and to my surprise said, “Oh, I’ve read your book. Really enjoyed it. But it was a bit steamy.”
Now there are some sexy scenes in the book, it’s a romance after all. Hardly in the erotic category, though. But then, to someone who doesn’t read lesfic, it would probably seem that way.
At that point his wife arrived. She said she was in the middle of reading ‘The Return of the Native’ which is why she hasn’t got around to reading my book yet. I didn’t think I could compete with real literature, so I let her off.
Close family members all got a paperback copy of ‘Starting Over’ for Christmas, even though I knew they’d downloaded the ebook as soon as it was released. The photo is one my sister sent me, taken on Christmas day, showing off her new slipper socks and the book.
I don’t know if it gets any easier…the process of releasing your words out into the ether. I’m sure I’ll go through the same ecstasy and agony with the release of my next book, which is due out in May. And if my friend’s husband thought ‘Starting Over’ was ‘steamy’, I better give her fair warning – ‘Arc Over Time’ might be too hot for him. That’s all I’m going to say about that for now.
Note: I would like to thank all those people I don’t know personally who have read ‘Starting Over’ and particularly those who have given me feedback and/or posted reviews. It is a tremendous boost to know it’s being read and enjoyed.
(‘Starting Over’, my debut novel is available from Affinity, Amazon, Bella Books and Smashwords.)