Sorry to have been so elusive this last week or so. No prizes for guessing what I've been doing.
Am so nearly there. Will spend today re-reading the entire manuscript before writing the epilogue tonight. With the children on holiday my work routine has become pretty nocturnal, but there is an odd kind of joy to be found in the very dead hours of the night when everyone else is asleep and I'm alone with my hero, heroine and a bar of chocolate Heaven. It is a very odd kind of joy though. I have to confess I'm looking forward to getting back to the less specialist kind that comes from a glass of wine and an early night.
Have a long list of things to do once the book is sent in. Items include 'clean fridge,' 're-introduce myself to children', 'eat fruit' and 'run website/blog competition.' Please come back and play then!!
Whilst indulging in my new favourite work-avoidance strategy of checking my book on Amazon this morning, I discovered that I have a new review!
I don't know who the reviewer is, but she gives me 5 lovely shiny stars and says
all of which is hugely gratifying. However, she also mentions a couple of other points with which she was less satisfied. I had a quick look at her other reviews, and can surmise that she's a tough cookie to please, but I totally admire and respect that and absolutely appreciate her honesty. Considered criticism like this is what makes reviews worthwhile for both readers and writers. Thank you Romance Fan!
Was interviewed last week by a journalist from a local-ish newspaper, for an article for their women's section on writing for women.
Interview took place over the phone, and largely consisted of the journalist (male) asking a series of questions which all related to sex. How much? Why was it necessary? How difficult was it to write about? And most bizarrely of all-- was I embarrassed at readers finding out what I got up to in the bedroom?
Confused dot com.
By this point my goodwill had kind of evaporated, and I rather curtly pointed out that I write fiction. Maybe he'd got me mixed up with someone else. That girl from Big Brother or someone.
In view of the current deadline status I had decided to temporarily abandon trips to the supermarket (usually one of my top work-avoidance strategies) and instead drop into the farm shop on the way to pick up the children from school. This was supposed to be a huge treat-- it's ruinously expensive, but the stuff they sell is all local/homemade/organic/gorgeous, and the place has a kind of soothing atmosphere of reverential wholesomeness that is particularly nice after a hard day at the keyboard. It's exactly the sort of place I imagine the posh characters in The Archers frequenting, and Liz Hurley when in residence in her Cotswolds manor.
However, the fact is I'm homesick for Sainsburys. Am guiltily sloping off there now to lurk in the aisles, flick through tacky celebrity magazines and stock up on e-numbers and environmentally irresponsible cleaning products.
Think I can safely say this is the week when the rest of the world finally slid out of focus for me and the book took over. This is a great feeling. I am spending my days in a shadowy mansion with the utterly gorgeous James D'Arcy (whose real name of course is Orlando Winterton... Or do I have that the wrong way round...?) and I no longer notice the dust and squalor of my own house. Excellent!
Am on the gallop to the finish now, and can hardly bear to leave the computer. The children are thoroughly enjoying this and have gone semi-feral, setting up camp made of chairs and blankets in the sitting room and retreating inside with a stash of biscuits to watch uninterrupted television through a gap in the doorway.
Thank you for all your kindness about Husband and the car fiasco. He's completely fine, thank goodness, but the car is wrecked. So we're now carless. Stuck. Marooned at home with no possibility of going anywhere until an alternative can be sorted...
(raises hands in silent prayer of thanks and scuttles back to book....)
MY BOOK IS IN AN ACTUAL SHOP ON MY ACTUAL HIGH STREET!
Husband emailed me from work on Friday to report an official sighting of The Italian's Defiant Mistress on the shelf at WH Smiths!
I am stupidly excited. I remember when I got the call last September (which always sounds vaguely like some sort of spiritual epiphany) it seemed an unimaginably long time until I would have a book actually on sale, but here I am, and there are Eve and Raphael, locked in their passionate, windswept embrace in our very own WH Smiths! I'd really like to get a picture of them there, but am not sure how to go about this... Do I lurk in the Romance section until all is quiet and go for the surreptitious 'slink and snap' technique? (and risk appearing shifty and slightly mad), or do I jump up and down going 'That's my book! That's my book!', thrust my camera into the hands of some hapless bystander and demand they photograph us both (thus coming across as completely bonkers, but in a reassuringly upfront way?) Vote now!
AND... as if I wasn't quite overexcited enough about this, I also discovered yesterday that I've had my very first review! Kym, over at Romance Reader at Heart has given the book 4 roses, which I'm pretty thrilled about, and said some nice things too, like
'India Grey pens a delightful, fun novel with THE ITALIAN'S DEFIANT MISTRESS. For her first published work, Grey does an outstanding job!... The characters are sympathetic and easy to relate to. The plot is fun and fast. I look forward to reading Grey's next novel. Bottom line: grab a cool drink of iced tea, curl up and enjoy!'
After reading this I instantly wanted to catch the next transatlantic flight and go and give Kym a big hug for taking the time to read and review my book, and also for picking up on the slight edge of humour I tried to put in there. It's not something that's immediately associated with the Presents line, and given the relentless darkness of my current wip, I don't think it's going to be a hallmark of all my books, but in that one it just happened. Anyway, on reflection I decided that being accosted by an over-emotional stranger would be scary and traumatic for nice Kym, so settled instead for a more conventional and low-key form of celebration involving a bottle of wine and a Chinese take away. I guess it's to my husband's credit that during this he was pretty tolerant about being reminded 47 times that I am the author of a novel that is both delightful and fun.