Now I have David Attenborough’s voice going through my head: “Herds of magnificent books leap through the retail savannah. Observe the little debut titles huddled at the waterhole next to much larger, heavier-hitting books. Will they survive? Only time will tell…”
I have, as freshly-minted authors tend to do, been bellyaching to friends and family about whether people will like the book, buy the book, or even know what on earth I’m talking about in the book (I have nightmares of some spotty adolescent picking it up and saying “a giant tree? Whaaa? …I’m going to go play Grand Theft Auto.”) Of course all this paranoia is to be expected. My friends and family roll their eyes at me; other writers sigh, “yes dear. Everyone goes through that.” Colour me typical.
What I didn’t expect was to be assailed by gratitude.
It hit me in the supermarket aisle, between the uht milk and Whip-it! cream dispensers. A sucker punch of happiness. Six years of sweat and labour, hard work and hope have passed since I first sat down to write the book that would become Tymon’s Flight. Of course not all six were spent on the one novel – I completed a second in that time and started on a third, giving birth along the way to my baby daughter (just to top things off nicely, you understand.) It’s been a long, occasionally difficult and highly rewarding journey on all counts. I was left feeling profoundly grateful that day in the supermarket, face to face with the Meadow Fresh.
Why grateful? Because I could never have done it alone. Because writing a 130000 word novel is a time-consuming process and almost impossible to accomplish when you are holding down the fort on your own, working a full time job or raising kids solo. J. K. Rowling, my hat goes off to you. I have been remarkably lucky to have a whole fleet of people on hand to help, advise and cheer me on. From my husband and mother who encouraged and supported me to my agent, publisher, and of course the highly savvy HarperCollins copyeditors who work behind the scenes to make a book as good as it can be… I am so thankful. Please… have a helping of cream. It’s on me.
“Night falls in the retail plains.” (David Attenborough is back.) “The nervous young debut titles must be vigilant. Tomorrow, they may be hunted down by packs of carnivorous Stephen King novels or a Lord of the Rings omnibus edition. But for now, all is quiet. The books sleep in peace.”
Tymon’s Flight is now available throughout Australia and New Zealand. The first book in the Chronicles of the Tree, it will be officially launched at the Weta Cave on 14 August. Mary Victoria lives in New Zealand and is currently working on the second and third book in the Chronicles of the Tree trilogy.