My Perfect Year

As I write this, my second book – Perfect Prey – is 20 days from publication. My debut crime novel was released in January and I’m currently editing book three. So it’s been a busy year, to put it mildly. What’s odd is that I’m so much more excited about the publication of Perfect Prey than I was about my debut. Not that Perfect Remains didn’t matter, or that I didn’t love it as much, but the tension and stress of having a debut coming out is past. This time, I know what to expect. I understand how the system works, and I have a much closer relationship with all the people inside Avon who have my back. And they really do. A book is a team effort. It’s easy to forget that when you’re alone in a small room, staring at the wall and willing the words to come, but it’s reassuring to know that there is a whole team of people waiting and wanting to love what you produce.


The other aspect of having a second book published is that, frankly, you have a lot less time to obsess over it. The luxury of a slow coffee and biscuits as you imagine the reviews and the chart positions is gone. There is the next book to write, publicity to think about, and of course Twitter (which after your debut is released takes on a joyous and crazy life of its own). I might miss having the time to enjoy the slow dunking of biscuits but I’m not missing the angst that too much time allows. I can’t wait to see Perfect Prey on the shelves. That’s what I’m looking forward to. And a few days touring book stores   meeting lovely booksellers and readers, all of whom have the same goal – to find the ideal book to crawl into bed with thereby to escape into a completely different world.


For me, that’s the key to enjoying the publication process. Authors should never lose sight of the end goal. It’s too easy to be overly concerned with sales figures, pre-orders and reviews. Your publishers will worry enough about that (thank you Avon), so all we need to do is put ourselves inside the head of that one reader and see our story through their eyes. Writing Perfect Prey, I think I relaxed and allowed myself the freedom to do that to a much greater extent. I hope it shines through the pages. So I’m going for a coffee now, and there may be Rich Tea biscuits involved. This time, though, I’m not going to bother with the stress. Writing time’s short enough as it is.


Helen Fields

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