As a fairly-recently married woman of a certain age, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that when I excitedly tell people that 'I have some news' more often than not their eyes go directly to my belly (where - depending on the size of the dinner I've eaten the night before - their suspicions are momentarily either confirmed or denied). I should be used to it, I guess. I've been working part-time for three years now and all too often this fact is met with the assumption that I've got tots at home that need tending, rather than words that need writing. Last week, however, we were blessed in welcoming two new arrivals into our home, so perhaps there's merit in the presumption after all...
First came my husband's new graphic novel, Baggage. On Thursday he received an advance copy from his publisher, David Fickling Books. If Baggage was a baby he'd be a giggling, rambunctious type, forever putting unsuitable objects up his nose and spoiling his nappy. I cooed as I turned the pages for the first time and, as ever, the work of The Etherington Brothers left me doe-eyed and proud as punch.
Then on Friday came another bundle of joy! A proof copy of The Book of Summers. I've spent countless hours writing-reading-rewriting my manuscript, but to actually see it bound between two gorgeous covers and hold it in my hands.... well, suddenly the whole thing became wonderfully real. And, like an awed mum-to-be clutching a picture of that first scan, I was smitten.
I don't doubt that I'll be pulling my proof from my handbag at the slightest opportunity, saying 'isn't she beautiful?' and 'look, you can see her spine.' Maybe in the run-up to Publication Day I'll even be able to get away with late-night cravings, sending my husband out onto the streets seeking pistachio ice-cream and salted caramels. And I certainly envisage sleepless nights ahead, where we'll toss and we'll turn and in the end console one another with the whispered promise that the world will be kind to our offspring. Knowing that all we can really do is work hard and hope.