In the month since The Art of Baking Blind came out in paperback, I may have put this photo on social media more than once. Not just because I'm proud of that WH Smith chart position but because it makes me want to laugh out loud.
This is probably the only chance I'll get to snuggle up to Ross Poldark (Demelza's just out of the picture, to the far left; I've rather pointedly edited her out.) I've also been found nudging Marian Keyes and Nick Hornby in Waterstones:
And squeezed next to one of my literary heroes, Sarah Waters:
If it seems arrogant or self-indulgent posting these shots, then I do so knowing that my position jostling them is likely to be short-lived. A month after publication, and my novel is no longer at the front of my local Waterstone's - although it is proudly displayed in my local Waitrose, Tesco, Asda and Morrison's (and seemingly out of stock on amazon). And so, as I embark on my third book, I am drawing on these photos to write harder, faster, brighter. Here they are: proof that I once did it; that I might - perhaps - do it again. My avocado spine is aligned with other authors. Proper authors that people have heard of. Look, I tell myself: it's really me.
When I wobble - as I know I will because self-doubt seems intrinsic to writing and to my psyche - I will also remember the gorgeous reviews I've received, and the blog posts written prior to publication day. I've collated my blog posts, partly to remind myself of the flurry of activity; and partly because I want to preserve the optimism and excitement of writing my first novel in some way.
There was a debut author spotlight interview for Shaz's Book Boudoir, here, and a Q and A for the Reads & Recipes blog, here. I wrote about my experience of being an author for Off the Shelf Books, here; and a feature about why we bake for reviewer Chicklit Chloe here.
For Good Housekeeping magazine, I blogged on the different types of baker, here, and for women's fiction website novelicious, I wrote a literary love letter to Kate Atkinson, click here. I have also written for novelicious about my book deal moment and my top writing tips, as well as being interviewed, here. I wrote about the allure of baking and offered a carrot cake recipe. Finally, I shared a recipe for gingerbread men on Alba in Bookland's blog, here.
For now, this flurry of publicity is over as I wait for the copy edits of my second novel, That Summer at Skylark Farm, and start on my third. The editor who bought both books has been headhunted, so I'm writing without a contract: crafting something with which to surprise, and hopefully delight, my publishers. If the prospect is exciting, it's also daunting. But I have two books written, now; and these photographs to buoy, chivvy and inspire me. There I am; nestling up to Poldark. Yes, it's really me.