Expectant Father Syndrome

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It’s that time again.

I am about to publish a new book. The proof reading is well underway. We have a title and a cover. It is finally going from “will it ever be finished” to “nearly there”.

There is no feeling quite like it. I am excited and nervous all at the same time. I’m intrigued to see what readers will make of it.

Unless you are churning out a long line of near identical books, you never really know how readers are going to receive your next book. Will they love it or hate it?

I am trying a few new ideas with this book. It’s not a comedy. It’s not written in the first person. It’s the start of a series.

The optimistic part of me – pink, fluffy and grinning – says that it’s a chance to make new readers. The grumpy and cynical part – grey, wrinkled and scowling – says that it’s not what my existing readers will be expecting.

And frankly I haven’t got a clue. That’s the same for every expectant father isn’t it? You don’t know if your smiling cherub will be a future Nobel prize winner or a notorious psychopath. And you can’t tell by looking because, let’s be honest here, all babies look like Winston Churchill.

But it’s your baby and you love it. Never mind if it has 666 tattooed somewhere on its body and/or it looks suspiciously like the milkman.

Apparently, some scientists have analysed what people say after babies are born. It seems that the mother’s family are more likely than anyone else to point out how much the baby looks like his or her father. Maybe it’s an evolutionary thing. Or they think that the milkman is dishy too.

“Dishy”. Hmm. That has a seventies ring to it. Maybe the modern yoof would say “hot” or “cool” or “well fit, innit”??

There is one big difference between babies and books, though. If you walk down the street with a new baby you are almost guaranteed to get lots of admiring glances. Publish another book and the reaction can be a lot less clear cut.

“To Know the Dark” will be published at the beginning of March.

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