Fermez les yeux and brace for impact

I’m so excited today I can hardly string a sentence together. And that would be ok, because what I’d really like to do is to cut the prose and list, shamelessly, the places you can see my book online.

That’s MY BOOK.

My. Book.

Oh, but you’d be interested to take a look? So kind of you to say so! I don’t want to bore you. And I won’t be offended if you don’t click on any of the links. Though the cover art really is quite fab. Intriguing, even. Just the right sort of thing for a thriller.

Well go on then, you’ve twisted my arm…

Fermez les yeux 

Just - aggghhhhh!

Just – aggghhhhh!

Didn’t I say it was in French? Ah well, they have excellent taste, the French – everyone knows that. The Germans too – there may be a post on that subject coming up in, say, July or so.

So… here it is, at long last. I have the artwork and a publication date – 10 February – and in the next day or so I expect to get my hands on the book itself. That’s a real live, honest-to-goodness book, with an actual cover, and a spine, and pages with words on them. My words.

Not that I’ll actually be able to understand many of them, it being in French and all. I only have a GCSE and my characters don’t spend all their time telling each other what their name is, and that they live in London, and asking if they could they have a white coffee and a ham sandwich, and what’s the best way to the post office.

But still. They’re my words en français. At least I hope they are.

I’ll be honest: alongside the excitement, there’s more than a hint of trepidation. One part of me understands that this is a first book being published in translation. That it’ll be a pebble dropped into the ocean of new books. That it’ll be a struggle to get anyone to read it at all.

I know all of that, and it doesn’t matter: I’m still ridiculously happy to think that my characters will be let out to make their way in the world. At the same time, I feel the first faint stirrings of obsession and paranoia.

They’re feelings that aren’t entirely unfamiliar.

Because there were times when I hated this book. When I was so sick of rewrites I felt I knew every single word off by heart. That I felt like I never wanted to look at it again. It brought me some of the greatest highs of my life (getting an agent; hearing that the big five were taking it to acquisition stage) and some of the biggest disappointments (none of the buggers were offering).

After a while, the disappointment faded. I appreciated what I had – a brilliant agent who was passionate about my book and who’d given it as good a chance as it could ever have got; a deal for the French rights with an established publisher; the idea for the next book and a glimmer of an idea for the one after that. I might not have had Euromilions-winning levels of good luck, but it was definitely five-lotto-numbers-and-the-bonus-ball territory.

All my passion for Waking Sara – for that’s what it was called back then – both love and hate, subsided into a gentle affection. I looked back on the days of the rewrites with a head-shaking fondness. I regained a sense of perspective.

Until now.

The release date is 10 February (just in case you didn’t get it the first time). That’s a whole 24 days away. And yet – someone has already given it three out of five!

I mean, I suppose it could be worse. I think I’d rather have a boringly middling mark than out and out disdain.

I think.

But couldn’t my unimpressed reviewer even had added a few words of explanation?! I mean, that book was the result of three years of my life! But no, he/she (or possibly even the default setting on a computer programme somewhere – I live in hope) has just given me my mark and got on with their life as if it doesn’t matter. Hmph, I say. Hmph.

And then there are the discounts. Not that I mind them in themselves – €15.90 is a lot of money for a paperback novel – but it’s the indecent haste of it! My poor little book isn’t even out and it’s having 5% lopped off its price without so much as a by-your-leave. It’s as if it’s already on the way to the bargain baskets! (Mind you, though, it is a bargain. So if you want to brush up on your French…)

And then the final indignity. Amazon, whom I once bravely defended on this very site, have got my name wrong. How they’ve managed this, I’ve no idea, but I can say with absolute certainty that I have never, ever been called Clarence. Not even in a French accent.

Anyway, if you or anyone you know speaks French/would like to speak French/ knows someone called Clarence, there’s a book out next month you’d absolutely love.

14 thoughts on “Fermez les yeux and brace for impact

  1. jackiemallon

    Wait a minute! I’m doing a shaking head, spluttering combo like Shaggy from Scooby Doo…You have a book?! Since effing when?! I want to read it (no, not in French–I’m not that keen!) In English, sweetie. You’ve been holding out on me. Where is it?!
    Oh yeah, congratulations on the French translation,totally brill!
    But no use to me… Spill!

  2. yakinamac Post author

    Ah, if only there were an English version, other than the one that lives on my PC! Sadly, no British publishers were brave/insightful/desperate enough to make me an offer. You can get it in German in July though – sprechen Sie Deutsche?!

    1. yakinamac Post author

      Thanks Charlotte. Saw a zero star review from a book blogger today. I mean really – was there nothing at all she liked?! Working on that whole “perspective” thing…

      1. Charlotte Hoather

        It’s only one person but one person has the ability to hurt, I regularly get told things aren’t good enough, I have ten regular people who dislike every video I put on you tube. You do have to shake it off. I’ve heard of people ending their careers because of a bad review. Did finishing and publishing the book make you happy? Were you satisfied with the results, striving for perfection that isn’t achievable doesn’t satisfy anybody. As long as you think that you did a good job that’s truly all that matters 😘 keep your chin up 👍🏻🌸

      2. yakinamac Post author

        Can’t believe your Terrible Ten – no idea that people did that. Makes you wonder why people who apparently don’t like what you do feel the need to keep coming back to knock it, doesn’t it? I think that says more about them than it does about you. In this case, though, I can’t really knock my reviewer – the narrative style of my book is a bit unusual, and it’s the kind of thing people either like or they don’t. Shame that it didn’t work for her, but I’m hoping there are people out there who’ll feel differently. And if not, I suppose the risk of trying something different won’t have paid off – but hey, doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth a shot. 🙂

      3. Charlotte Hoather

        Exactly, I did that singing a little known Norwegian song cycle I will know better how it’s received after a few outings, but as a student now is the time to take risks and sometimes you just need to.

  3. Sharon Bonin-Pratt

    CJ, you did it! You really did it! I’m beyond thrilled for you and delighted to hear from you again. I’m afraid no amount of brushing up on my French will ever render me sufficiently fluent to read your book in French. If the Brits are ignoring you, please try our Yankee agents and editors. I love success stories, Mrs. Holder be damned – you did prove her wrong. Congrats, congrats all around. Let me know when it’s out in English.
    Thank you for the “like” on my blog.Yes, I’m back blogging again, and pressing full bore to try to get my books published. Never thought of the French, but maybe I’ll give it a try.
    So very happy for you, Yakinamac.
    Shari *: )

    1. yakinamac Post author

      Thank you Shari! Don’t hold your breath for the English version though – think it will be back to the drawing board with book 2 and see if I can persuade someone that that one is marketable in English. I might go for the self-publishing route one of these days if not.

      Really enjoyed your blog and great to see it back in action! Keep going with the books – you know what they say about persistence – it’s when it gets really hard that you know why people give up. Don’t be one of them (that’s what I keep telling myself, anyway)!

  4. Sue Slaght

    I am smiling ear to ear at reading this. I think when we first crossed paths on line you were working away at this dream. To see that you have accomplished your goal is so inspiring! Congratulations to you and my wishes for much continued success.

    1. yakinamac Post author

      Thanks so much Sue! Yes, you are quite right about the timing – goodness knows, it’s taken me long enough. And it feels like there’s still so much to do, but I suppose that’s the way it should be(?). Bit scary now that I’ve given up the day job – I may have to find something that’s a bit more effective at paying the bills in time, but I’m enjoying the dream for now!


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