I’ll be honest – there were times when I thought, fleetingly, that perhaps I was destined to write only one book. That Time Travelling With A Hamster would have its brief moment in the limelight and then gracefully move along the bookshelf to make room for books by other, more prolific and successful authors.
I would tell myself that Harper Lee wrote only one book, To Kill A Mockingbird. (Then I’d remember Go Set A Watchman and feel a little sad.)
Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind was also a one-off, written in 1936, that still sells 75,000 copies a year.
(Incidentally, Mockingbird and GWTW both one-offs, both set in the US deep south, both won the Pullitzer Prize.)
Anyway, the doubts were necessarily momentary as I had a contract to fulfill with HarperCollins and – in hindsight – the problem was not that I couldn’t think of a story to write, but that the initial, enthusiastic reception to Hamster had somewhat intimidated me. And if I felt that with the modest success of Hamster imagine what poor Harper Lee felt when her first ever book won the world’s most-coveted literary prize and was set by exam boards the world over.
Anyway, it’s done and I’m thrilled with it. I say “done”: it’s in the final editing stage, where metaphors are unmixed, characterisations sharpened with a word here and there, plot holes that have survived so far are identified and filled in (or disguised), and the copy-editor says things like, “she can’t put it in her jeans pocket because you said five pages ago that she was wearing a skirt.” I owe an awed debt to my brilliant editors.
The cover, once again, is by the wonderful Tom Clohosy Cole. It really matches Hamster.
In fact, it looks just like a collection of books by an author should look. Which means I’d better get cracking on book three…
What Not To Do If You Turn Invisible is available to pre-order from Amazon. It will be published on December 29.