The (nearly) unbearable bliss of Alice Hart’s first steps

26 June

Gazillions of things will happen in the world today. In my tiny speck, one of them will be the first time in my life I see and hold my writing as a book.

Yesterday, someone I don’t know posted a photo of her advance reading copy in NZ, giving me a first glimpse of sentences I made up, printed, in a book. Out there. In the world.

After a couple of weeks waiting my initial advance reading copy has seemingly been lost in the mail. But my lovely Oz publisher promptly couriered another, with tracking info. I won’t even try to pretend it’s not on auto-refresh. On all devices.

What a beautiful, nerve-splitting experience this is.

Here’s to patience today, wildflowers, one of my *greatest* natural strengths.

21 June

This morning, beloved indie Torquay Books tagged me in photo on Instagram posted by Book Bonding Independent Bookstore, saying, “I spy Alice!” But a bit of confusion ensued…because the advance reading copy of The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart was in the same pile as an advance reading copy of The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman.

When I was 24, I wandered one afternoon into a library to walk my fingers along the fiction shelves. I came across a hardcover copy of a novel calledAt Risk. Slid it off the shelf, sat down, and didn’t shift until it was closing time. After At Risk, I hungrily collected Alice Hoffman’s back list, then agonised in wait for her new releases. I always needed my own copies; borrowed ones just would not do. Since that afternoon in the library over a decade ago, I’ve moved around a lot, and at varying stages I’ve left clothes, crockery, plants, and sometimes food behind to make sure my Alice Hoffman novels could safely travel with me. When I see a bookshelf, anywhere, I look for her name on the spines. You know the writer who’s stories save you and endure? Alice Hoffman is that writer for me. And this morning, I saw my first book sitting in a stack with hers.

Sometimes, SURREAL is just not a big enough word.
Luckily, gratitude is.

N.B. It’s not just indie bookstores, but the booksellers in them that are keepers of magic.

19 June

When you wake up to an email from your publisher sharing a photo from the recent Australian Bookseller Association conference, and you see for the first time a PILE of advance reading copies of your novel, hand-wrapped for booksellers to take away.
I ugly-cried before coffee, dear reader.
This photo is made even more surreal by how the book isn’t tangible for me yet, I’m still waiting for my reading copy to arrive in Manchester, to hold it in my hands for the first time. I hope Royal Mail have good workers comp for the OH&S of their posties.
Monday, wildflowers. The world needs your dreams and kindness. Go at ’em.


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