It’s probably a sign of just how derailed I have been by the pandemic that I haven’t actually posted that much about my new book, Blood Burns, being out.
Those who have waited patiently for this – the latest installment of the Dark Dates books – will know that it’s been overdue for a while, so will also understand that while I considered delaying it until things got back to ‘normal’, in the end I decided to publish and be damned – in part because, hey, normal doesn’t look like it’ll be coming back any time soon.
But putting a book out in a pandemic is a very strange experience – especially if you don’t have a big publisher’s marketing department behind you to give you a bit of a push.
My friends of course were utterly delightful and supportive, and dutifully made a pleasant fuss. It’s long been a standing joke that I milk my birthday for attention, so you can imagine my delight at discovering that book birthdays also get you a splendid haul of gifts! (Or, at least, pandemic book birthdays do, when none of your mates can take you out for celebratory cocktails).
But without anything like a physical celebration or launch, it has felt weirdly anti-climatic – especially when doing online promo at a time when the world already feels cluttered and noisy, and many of those voices talking about things that are far more important than my little book launch.
I also recognise, though, how lucky I am to be able to have gone ahead at all. One of my sidelines is theatre writing, and it’s been heartbreaking to see so many theatre creatives struggle, with hopes raised and crushed on an almost weekly basis, as rules change, funding stutters, and projects that have been months or even years in the making are cancelled at the last minute, sometimes indefinitely.
So consider this an ‘I see you’ to anyone out there trying to make or create at a time when there are so many other demands on our energy and feels like it’s an uphill struggle, and one that happens, unnoticed, in a vacuum and the dark. (And I don’t just mean professionally: I mean if you are trying to do art projects for your kids, or cook for your family, or crochet a blanket, or any of the other million small ways people try to make the world a bit more interesting).
Keep going! It’s worth it. And is probably more noticed than you think.
See you on the other side.
You can buy the book here!