Not really writing -
Wanting to dance

You wait for hours -

- and then three come along at once. Well, more than three, actually. One of the things they don't tell you about the author's life (as opposed to the writing life) is that it's ninety-nine percent boredom and only one percent... anything at all. Sometimes when people ask me to talk to their reading group, or whatever, they say 'I know how busy you must be', and I suspect they have a vision of me in one long merry-go-round of readings and signings and festivals and power-lunches and so on. Well, maybe five books down the line I shall be, and maybe the writers who turn out a book a year are, but meanwhile there are huge stretches when absolutely nothing happens in my professional book-trade life, however much is going on in my head. True, on my way to France I found a wodge of The Mathematics of Love face out in Foyles at St Pancras, and my US editor told me that she thought I'd done 'a marvellous job' on the revisions for that edition of A Secret Alchemy, but you can't feed on those forever.

So it was rather amazing that the following things all happened yesterday:

- I finally got bound proofs of A Secret Alchemy with the proper cover, and it looks GORGEOUS! I didn't actually take it to bed with me, as I did the proof of The Mathematics of Love, but only because I was taking the current research-for-the-new-novel book instead-.

- When I dropped a proof off at my local indie, Village Books, they were thrilled and said mid-November's a great time for it to come out, and they'd put it in their Christmas catalogue as signed copies if I didn't mind keeping on dropping in to sign stock as and when needed (didn't mind?!!!!). They have another shop in Wandsworth, so that's a swathe of South London who'll have it waved under their noses.

-When I dropped another off at my other local indie, Dulwich Books, they were thrilled and agreed about November and said would I like to do a signing come publication.

-The draft catalogue copy for the US edition of A Secret Alchemy came through.

- The proposed cover for the US edition of A Secret Alchemy came through. It's very, very different from the UK one, but very clever and intriguing.

- My agent emailed to say that Rodney Troubridge, the Waterstones fiction buyer, has listed A Secret Alchemy in The Bookseller, as one of his three best books for November: 'it is a convincing and intelligent read'.

This is the first review I've had, so it's extra-exciting. And since I know that Rodney's very interested in the whole Princes in the Tower and Richard III debate, I was extra-nervous that he might hate it. But not at all, it seems.

So a few of the butterflies that launch in my stomach every time I think of publication have calmed down, just for now, but in their place has come a small rush of professional adrenalin. For once, I can do something with it: just before I settle down to my accounts, I think I'll take another copy up to my third local indie  Review. (We're blessed, down here in South East London: there are five indie bookshops I can walk to). Not that I'm trying to avoid the accounts, of course. But you've got to work off the adrenalin somehow, after all, and no doubt after that I'll be back in the ninety-nine percent.

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