Last night, before we turned out the lights, my husband pointed out to me that somewhere, someone was probably reading my book. In fact, more than one person. Maybe two. Maybe ten. Maybe even one hundred. That thought kept my eyes open for a good while. The image of readers, some of whom I know and others I don't, spending their time with my characters. I imagined them getting frustrated with Clare, maybe liking her but hating her too, wondering about Malcolm, finding him inscrutable. I wondered if readers' visions of Blackmore differed from my own, how the geography of the town and the gorge were shaping up in their minds.
It's been thirteen days since the book was officially released in Canada, though it made its first appearances on shelves about ten days earlier. The past month has been a whirlwind, with the book landing in Costco, the airport kiosks, indie bookstores and other retailers big and small. It has climbed the bestseller list. There was a US deal. There were reviews, including one in the Globe and Mail and one in the Toronto Star. There was a launch party that lingered into the wee hours of the next morning. It's been quite the ride, and the overwhelming sentiment has been one of gratitude... I just can't believe how many people have taken the time to buy the book or send their good wishes or promote it to their own networks. I feel tremendously lucky.
But in the whirlwind, there have been moments of quiet too. Strange quiet. Empty nest quiet, like I can feel the distance forming between Still Mine and me. I see pictures of it out in the world and my instincts are motherly; I am happy to see it doing well, and I just want it to be loved. I just want the readers to know that I tried my best.
And I continue to try my best. I am at work on the sequel and should have a first draft relatively soon. Current hopes/plans are that the sequel will arrive on shelves at some point in 2017. I carry Clare with me in a very different way this time. I feel like I know her. After reading reviews and hearing from friends, I feel like I know with even more certainty what I want for her. Readers will eventually know more of her, and most definitely more of Malcolm. If you have an opinion on Clare (or Malcolm!), feel free to send word. I may well take it into consideration.
On that note, I'll say it one more time: Thank you. Now off I go to write.