Picture the scene – my first taste of success as a writer. I’m sitting in a fancy restaurant – by which I mean there isn’t a chicken nugget in sight. My publisher sits at the head of the table. A grand dame of the industry weighed down by precious metals and with hair that has definitely not been blow dried by herself. I glow with pride as I sign a copy of my book despite the fact I can’t read a word of it. Here I am celebrating seeing my novel in print for the very first time in … Milan, Italy. I’ve spent all day trailing bookshops, taking pictures of my book, trying to convince shop owners that I am the author and not some eccentric English lady who can’t speak Italian yet convinced she’s written an entire book in their language. This is not how I expected things to be.
I guess it’s fitting that I didn’t begin writing in my native England. Marriage, a baby and a husband sent to work in the USA for three years slung me out of my previous career developing theme park rides and attractions, and potentially into desperate housewife territory. As I gazed around the leafy suburbs of Connecticut I remembered I’d once had a dream to write a book. And so I did. Armed with ideas and a very British sense of humour I joined a creative writing class and NO-ONE EVER HAS SEX ON A TUESDAY began to take shape. The tale of childhood sweethearts having a one-night stand when they meet years later at a school reunion seemed to strike a chord. When two classmates had a row about whether my lead character should stick with her younger boyfriend or rekindle her teenage romance having discovered that either men could be the father of her baby, I knew I had something.
Eventually it was finished and I skipped class to sweat over letters to potential agents in London. Not that I thought I’d get one, I just fancied getting some transatlantic mail. As it turned out one wanted me and my book. Champagne corks popped. It was a dream come true. I didn’t realise that dreams rarely materialise in the way you imagine them.
My agent (I will never get used to saying that) took my book to Frankfurt Book Fair and I waited impatiently to hear when I would be able to buy it in Waterstones. Then the news came that it had sold to the highest bidder in a German auction and a pre-empted bid had secured it a home in Italy. Not long afterwards Brazil grabbed hold of it followed by Poland. Initially I was crushed that I wouldn’t be seeing my book on home territory until the reality of being published abroad sank in. Someone in Brazil, a country I had never even visited, thought I was funny, thought I could write and wanted other Brazilians to read my story. That, I decided, was pretty cool.
One edition after another, my book appeared in print in languages I couldn’t read with covers so diverse it was hard to reconcile it as the same book. It was as though I had given my book up for adoption and it was having this whole fantastic life without me that I was unable to participate in.
Until this year. The massive changes driving uncertainty in the publishing industry had been blamed for my book not finding a home in the UK. However as a new era in publishing emerges, those changes have provided the opportunity for me to finally get published here. With the support of my agent who also represents Sophie Kinsella and has helped Kate Harrison achieve massive self- publishing success with her 5:2 Diet Book, my novel is now available in English on Amazon. Finally I can tell people to go and read my tale of a one-night stand that leads to utter chaos. Best of all I can understand the reviews and comments for NO-ONE EVER HAS SEX ON A TUESDAY without having to resort to Google Translate!