Because I publish only every four or five years, in spite of my best intentions — in spite of being at my desk virtually every day for hours! — I forget how fraught the publication process is.
The first sign of “nerves” is going into a tizzy over the cover. I virtually never go into tizzies, but this almost always happens over a cover! And then into a tizzy again over the jacket copy: is it ever just right? And then there are the discovered typos that must be corrected right up until the hour before the book, my baby, hits the press. (I imagine this as a violent collision, not a birth — how strange is that?)
And then: a long, long moment of silence (please, as for a memorial). The book is in print. My job is done.
Ha. Not quite. What’s to come is the scariest part, and that’s the worry, the thoughts of all the ways in which The Novel could have been better. (For it continues to live in motion in my mind.)
The memory of how rushed writing it had been at the end, and how — no doubt — readers will be disappointed. It will be beautiful to behold, I know — such a lovely cover now! — but will it enchant?
Enchantment does not come easy, especially these days.
And then, among the early reviews, I read:
I enjoyed this book so much that I’ve read it twice already!
This is from “Leslie U,” whom I do not know. I want to print this sentence on a banner and pin it over my desk. (Maybe I will.) It’s what I aspire to!
I breathe. Maybe it’s going to be all right. There will be readers who like The Game of Hope. Not everyone, I know, but some.
Leslie U goes on to say:
Being a fan of the Josephine B. Trilogy, I have been anticipating this novel from Ms. Gulland. Her tale about the life of Josephine’s teenaged daughter Hortense and her recovery in the wake of the French Revolution is both realistic and poignant. Roommates, letters home, teenage crushes and innocence brought it to life for me. I especially enjoyed the way the Lenormand Cards were woven throughout the novel. I’ve purchased a deck to play the Game of Hope myself!
Ah, the wonderful Game Of Hope. I often cast those cards as I was writing Hortense’s story.
Maybe I should cast them now, ask: How are you doing, Hortense?