At last! After so many weeks, months and years of waiting, my book is published! I don’t know what I am supposed to feel like at this point in time, and I find it difficult, even as a writer, to put it into words. I have spent so long anticipating this moment, I hardly know how to take it in.
I had a wonderful book launch event on the day of release, at John Smith’s bookshop on the Swansea University Campus. We had fizzy wine, and I talked about the book to a small crowd of colleagues and visitors. I read a brief passage from the book, and then took questions. People asked about writing the book, about the research, about the process. I explained the book as best I could. I was glad that I had produced the book as part of a PhD, because the critical element of the PhD gave me the language to use to discuss the book. I had to explain the title, the centrality of Amanda’s conversion to Islam and her reliance on her faith during times of trouble, and her growing understanding of the strength of family relationships in her new country. I explained how significant the women in her life are to Amanda. And I told everyone that this was the best thing I had ever written.
And people bought the book! How wonderful! Not because I want money from it, but because I really wanted to share this story. I signed 17 copies in total, and I feel delighted to have got off to such a good start.
I did a workshop this weekend at a festival, and again, sold more copies of the book. I stood up for the first time as a published author and taught others how to start writing their own stories, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was a good mix of personalities in the workshop, and I had some positive feedback.
So far, three people have told me they can’t put the book down. I am delighted. I hope that they keep on reading and find satisfaction in the whole narrative. I hope they share their feelings about the book and find it interesting and uplifting. And I feel different now, as I continue to work on the first draft of my next novel, because any positive feedback builds my confidence and makes me feel that maybe I was right to keep on believing in my writing, in my love of a good story.
Writing this novel was a hugely transformative experience. Being known as its author, I am sure, will be equally transformative. This is a transition time, and I am interested to find out what new evolution life has in store for me.
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