April is the cruellest month, or so said T S Eliot in his epic poem The Waste Land. Yet, for me, nothing could be further from the truth, because last April saw the publication of my debut novel Minty, an event that will forever be imprinted on my memory.
My book being released into the world was something I had dreamt of since childhood, but it took me until late 2001 to work towards turning that aspiration into a reality. During the many years that followed, as I laboured on manuscript after manuscript with no apparent prospect of being published, I often wondered if it would ever happen. But happen it did, although it took a long time to get there. That's why I'll always cherish the joy of Minty's publication day. It was such a special moment in my life, one of the most exhilarating so far. For alongside the phonecalls, texts and gifts from family and friends came a flurry of tweets, shares, likes and comments on social media, many from people I didn't know. In truth, I was overwhelmed by the generosity of strangers.
And now, on Minty's first birthday, I'm happy to say that many of those strangers have become friends. I've since been fortunate enough to met a good number of them, with plans to meet more before 2015 is out. Some people are wary of social media, and with good reason - there are enough horror stories out there to make anyone cautious. Nevertheless, my contact with those on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest etc has been wholly positive thus far. Not only has it enhanced my exisiting relationships with my realtime friends who happen to be online, but it has introduced me to a wonderfully supportive virtual community - writers, readers, bloggers and so on.
And so, my friends, I raise a glass to you all in grateful thanks for your friendship, support and the many kindnesses you've shown me over the past twelve months and more, plus the sheer fun you've given me during this remarkable period in my book's lifetime. Here's to you all, and here's to April! May all your dreams come true whatever month of the year it is.
Oh, and if you're wondering why the doggie photo is included in this post it's because Minty's publication maybe wasn't such a great day for Pebbles and Jess: in all the excitement I almost forgot to feed them! Mind you, I nearly neglected to feed myself - it took me until 4 in the afternoon to realise that I hadn't eaten breakfast, even although I'd been awake since 6.40 that morning. On that note, it's time to give the dogs a biscuit or two and take them for a long, celebratory walk in the sunshine!
With love from