It’s a year to the day that I received the happy news that I’d won the 2014 Bath Novel Award.
I’ve written at length elsewhere about Precocious’s path to publication so I’ll keep this brief and try not to repeat myself, but it feels impossible not to mark the anniversary of the day when, really, my life changed.
When Caroline Ambrose called me a short time after the announcement was made, I was still in a slightly disbelieving state of giddiness (I’ve not moved on much from that state in twelve months, to be honest). I remember her telling me that at Bath Novel Award HQ they were toasting me with whiskey. I was toasting myself with a cup of tea. I confessed I’d had so many rejections I was amazed I’d won. Caroline told me Juliet loved the book and I wouldn’t have to worry about that any more. It all felt very surreal. I hadn’t dared hope for this prize; an agent, and a publishing deal, still seemed a distant dream.
Now I’m writing my second novel, the book that’s been in my head for over four years, the book I didn’t previously have the confidence or, in a way, the permission to write. I never felt I could get going with it until something happened with the first book, so I kept tinkering away at Precocious instead, and kept sending it out into the world. Thank goodness I did.
In a couple of days, the shortlist for the 2015 Bath Novel Award will be announced. To all the longlistees, I am sending a virtual hug as I know how you are feeling right now. Tons of luck. To Caroline and Dionne: thank you (for the gazillionth time!).
Four weeks from now, Precocious really will be out in the world. Gulp. Wish us luck.