I know I'm shockingly late with the whole April thing. In fact I should be doing May as well at this stage. I have an excuse though. I've been writing and writing and doing a bit more writing. You see the whole book evolution from mad idea in my head to the actual printed version takes quite a while. Lots of steps are involved including plenty of work. It's a team effort along with the editors and publishing house. So the final touches have been made all the 'i's' are dotted now and 't's' crossed so to speak.
We've (the publishers at Hachette & I) have tossed and turned over the name of the next book. So the final answer, having used up all our life lines and going for broke is: Keeping Mum.
To try and follow the previous titles I've had, which are usually a play on words (Designer Genes, Miss Conceived etc.) we wanted something similar. This novel is all about mothers and daughters. I sincerely hope you're all going to enjoy it. I loved writing it. There are plenty of laughs in it - at least I laughed a lot while I was writing it. Usually if it makes me laugh other crazy ladies find it funny too. So fingers and toes crossed.
It wouldn't be any good if it didn't have some heart-wrenchingly sad bits too. I love all the email from readers describing how I made them blub and sob on the train or the bus to work. Yes I do have a very evil streak in me! Ah sure we all love a good cry from time to time. Doesn't it release all sorts of wonderful and helpful endorphins? So suffice it to say there are some hard hitting issues in the story. But before you dive behind the long coats and dresses in your wardrobe to rock back and forth and vow to never read it - there are enough laughs to keep you out of the nut house suffering with crippling depression.
Speaking of nut house, I nearly had to be taken there of my own free will last week. Spike the naughty but much adored kitten who purred into our lives last summer is gone. Oh sweet Jehovah it's terribly sad. He didn't come for his breakfast last Thursday and I just knew.
Tom arrived (the older fat furry cat puss who we LOVE too) but he was alone without his side kick, Spike. I didn't mention anything to the kids at that point. But he hadn't returned by the time I collected them from school so we had to go hunting. We've put notices everywhere, informed all the vets, police (yes I honestly did file a missing puss notice with the local station and no I don't care if they thought I was insane) and we've sporadically driven all over the Bray area all week end. We haven't found a body and there's no sign of our gorgeous little stripy man. I keep hearing meow's and thinking I see him in bushes and on the side of the road. For those of you who don't 'do' pets I know you are widening your eyes, raising your eyebrows and shaking your heads slowly justifying my insanity by thinking I've been through a lot of sickness and maybe this is how it's manifesting itself. But no! It's a pet owners privilege to forget that our furry friends are not human. They become part of the family. Fair enough they might have more hair than some of us, but it's so hard not to become ridiculously attached to them.
When you have children sobbing at four in the morning and asking you to 'please bring Spike home,' it's not fun. He may come back but for now we just have to hope that he's either in a great big cat bed in the sky or being loved and minded by someone else.
I've done a very grown up thing during the last month which could be another excuse as to why I've been so lax with my blog and twitter and facebook. I've moved into an office. I used to work from home you see. I had a lovely room which my hubby made into an office. It's a brilliant space to have and it was a God-send while I was too sick to leave the house. I will use it still but only in the evenings or at week ends. The only problem with it is the fact that it's attached to the rest of my house and life. I've no issue with discipline when it comes to writing. I love it so much that it's never a chore for me to sit and write. In fact I have to make myself stop so I can go to the toilet, make a coffee, eat or function. But at home there's always something that needs to be done - that isn't work. So I've taken an office in Bray my local town, and it's very business like. I almost feel as if I have a real job now.
I moved my desk top computer and my salt lamp (if you don't own one you should - a big hunk of solid salt which gets plugged in and glows in a lovely sunny way and allegedly emanates good ions...) and my special bad-back helping chair and I was all set. So far I'm a few weeks into it and it's working really well. It's great for my psyche to have an actual work space where I know I can forget whether the washing machine has just finished a cycle or if the dishwasher needs emptying. Fair enough all those things are waiting for me when I get home as I still haven't found a magic fairy to do all that stuff for me, but work time is purely for writing. Bliss!
Health-wise I've had a bit of fun with my back. I managed to banjax my lower back - an MRI showed I've a ruptured disc followed by a squashed one followed by a bulging one. Not the nicest disc sandwich imaginable and I wouldn't recommend it. Having said that I was in so much pain and barely able to hobble around that we (Saint David my oncologist and the nurses) all figured I'd better have scans to see what was going on. I had that awful time when I tried to remain rational and keep things ticking along while I assured myself it was just 'normal' disc stuff. But anyone who's had cancer will agree - each twinge raises a very loud alarm bell. Thankfully I'm just a crock and have gammy discs.
In fact all my scans were totally clear of cancer. It was such a wonderful feeling to know that I've reached six months without a recurrence! I am nervous all the time that the cancer will return. I've never been in this position before you see. I've never had this much time lapse between diagnosis. Don't get me wrong it's bloody brilliant! It's better than that - it's a miracle. But this new sensation is one many people have written to me about and described. But it's my first time being here. I hope I will get used to being well. I hope the cancer stays away for a bit longer and I can get to grips with the concept of being OK. But right at the moment I'm a bit like a small furry animal sitting in a large empty field waiting for a piano to fall out of the sky and squash me! Fingers crossed the piano has joined an orchestra and won't have the inclination to land on me!
I'd better go and do some work. There's another book on the horizon you see. A Christmas one which I think I've mentioned before. It's called 'Driving Home for Christmas' and that'll be out in time for all things tinsel and trees! No rest for the wicked as they say! I hope this finds you all well. I hope to have a peek at the cover of 'Keeping Mum' very soon and I promise to share it with you as soon as I do. It's out in Ireland in July, so hopefully you'll all think of taking it on holiday with you? Ah go on pleeeeease...
Take care where ever you may be. I hope the weather is better than here in Bray. We've had thunder and hailstones all week end. Not very summery in fairness.
Love to you all and I'll catch you again soon,
Emma x x
p.s. here's a photo of furry Spike just in case you come across him