Let the Nail Biting Begin!

In my last post I told you what I was doing, and in this one I’ll try to tell you how I’m feeling as the publication date for FINDING EMILIE approaches.

It’s scary.

The process of writing a novel is so involved and lengthy that I swing through the spectrum of emotions over and over. Then, in the many months between finishing the final round of revisions and waiting for publication, I put FINDING EMILIE out of mind. I was making many appearances for PENELOPE’S DAUGHTER, finishing up novel number four (THE SHAPE OF THE WORLD), and doing some preliminary work on novel number five–plus teaching full time and doing some other projects, including serving as managing co-editor of two anthologies. FINDING EMILIE was, bluntly, the last thing on my mind.

About a month before a book comes out authors receive a box of finished copies, and when that carton arrived a few weeks back, the emotional roller coaster began for me again. I can’t describe the feeling of pulling back the flaps and seeing rows of one’s own book staring back. The cover is not a surprise–by then I’ve seen it often–but the bulk of the whole thing (I don’t know how else to say it) is a most pleasant reality check. I took a few out of the box and photographed them for–what else?–Facebook before curling up on the couch to leaf through a copy. Here it is, I said to myself. It’s finally, well, alive.

Then you wait. The time a book sits in warehouses and storerooms waiting for the publication date is pretty tough. I want the book out in the world now, but I’m also worried about what will happen when it is. What if people don’t like it? What if they write mean spirited or silly reviews on Amazon? What if they secretly (or not so secretly) decide that it’s okay, but not as good as my other novels? What if this? What if that?

I’m not sure what this worry is about, really. A number of people read the book in galley–a few reviewers, a few friends, a few fellow authors. Everyone has been very positive, talking about how reluctant they were to say goodbye to my characters and how vividly I’ve portrayed the world of Enlightenment France. “You like it?” I say, doing a Sally Field second Oscar speech imitation. “You really like it?” They smile, nod, or if they are at a distance, write reassuring e-mails that I read again and again.

Just today I found out that FINDING EMILIE is an Editor’s Pick in the next issue of Historical Novels Review–the biggie in my field. They like it–they really like it! I feel the weight coming off my shoulders. Maybe I can stop worrying now, since ALL the feedback is good–very very good.

This particular wait came to a strange, truncated end when I discovered the book went on sale on Amazon a few days ago–a week ahead of the pub date. All the countdown, all the talk of going out next Tuesday to celebrate seems suddenly moot. I’ve survived again, and now, the wait for blogger reviews begins. It’s like the time between leaping off the high dive and hitting the water, but I’m at this point more curious than scared.

I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a note when you’ve read the book, and better still, post a review on Amazon, B&N or someplace else. Writers are nothing without readers, and if you were here right now I’d thank you sincerely and deeply for all your support, except I’m chewing my nails and can’t talk at the moment.