5 things no one tells you about being an author...
I didn't think this could possibly be true. I love talking! I love being asked things! But last night, totally aside from doing any book events, someone asked me how uni and work were going and I was like.... ughhh.
But remember that this is how most authors feel. Debra Adelaide, in her latest book The Innocent Reader talks about the need to put on the mask and go out there and do the talk anyway. Remember that for the people in the audience, these questions are new. Your book is new. You are new. And they are giving some of their time to you, not only to listen to you talk, but also hopefully to go home and read your book. They may have parted with their money for the privilege. You owe them the respect of giving a great talk, and answering questions with kindness, even if you do feel like a broken record.
2. You will forget what happens in your own book.
Or rather, you'll forget which versions of things appear in the book. The other day, I told a story about something that happened at home and the interviewer said 'Oh that's funny because that happens in one of your stories.'
3. You will forget what question you have been asked half way through answering it.
I always thought this was funny when I was an audience member. Then it happened to me...
I have found that it's useful to have talking points to call on, and these can often be adapted to tricky questions. If you're unsure of what an interviewer wants to ask, it's fine to ask them to unpack the question a little bit. The audience know you're human and if you didn't really understand the question, they probably didn't either.
4. You will struggle to write coherent and 'un-weird' messages in peoples' books while simultaneously trying to carry out charming conversations with them.
This leads to the fun situation where you ask someone if 'Laura' is spelt the traditional way and they look at you like you just ate a crayon. Last night, I lay awake for quite some time, certain that I had written the wrong name in a friend's book.
5. All hail the power of the 26 minute nap.
Book tours are tiring. They involve a lot of evening events that mean you have to drive there in peak hour traffic and then miss your usual dinner time because you're too busy signing books! (A pretty great problem to have, really.) I have found myself getting quite tired in the afternoons lately, and so when I know I have the time, if I feel myself getting sleepy, I set a timer on my phone for 26 minutes and allow myself to snooze. It's enough time to shake the cobwebs away without making me feel cranky and disoriented.
So there you have it! I am sure that from events to come, I will learn more things, and I am trying to be open to the process and appreciate every second of it, because as Brooke Davis told me when she was launching her novel Lost and Found, you only get one first book. No, it hasn't really been what I expected, but when I let myself enjoy it, it's been great. I am thankful to all the wonderful libraries and bookshops who have hosted me so far and look forward to talking to more of you in 2020!