for Peter and Amanda Carpenter

 

Yesterday a miraculous thing happened. I took delivery of a box containing copies of my new book. I went to the collecting office and walked home with its bulk against my tummy, somewhere between parcel and baby.

When I got in I placed it on the kitchen table and cut through the sticking tape, channelling my inner surgeon. A flap, and then another. Another box lay within. More scapel-work. Some inflatable plastic wadding.

And there they were, two piles of books, equal in height, dark against the dun of the cardboard container. I pulled one out and felt moisture forming at the back of my eyes. Flicking through, I noticed that the book contained my words and that they looked as I had intended, planned for them to look, all those days ago. Better than that, they looked sharper, tidier, more organised that I remembered them looking. The words were mine but appeared fully-grown, as though by somebody else, somebody who really knows what they are doing. I pulled out another, to make sure it contained the same.

The person who really does know what they are doing is Peter Carpenter, my editor and publisher at Worple Press. He has held my hand all the way through the process of making The Afterlife come in to the world, and I thank him from the bottom of my heart. He knows when to ask for more work, and when to stop. He knows what to cut, and what to let through. What to take a risk on, and what to politely decline. This is my book all right, absolutely, but it would not exist without the kindness, skill, patience, gentleness, guidance, tact and vision of Peter. He is the best. I am so lucky to have him.

The book is not on sale yet, but will be from the start of September. If you would like a copy I would love to hear from you. There is no rush. Before we get into that I have some festival readings to do. There is time. For now it is important to say thank you, and delight in this amazing little thing being suddenly with its own life in the world.