The great thing about having a December 1st publication date is that no sooner has the launch date rolled round in its customary speedy fashion than it’s already Christmas. And what better festive gift to give yourself (or a loved one, I guess) than All I Ever Wanted, now out in paperback everywhere! The trouble is, by the time publication comes around, most writers are deep into the next book and grappling with new characters, new problems, new everything – which is so unfair on the poor book that’s just coming out! A publication day should be treated like a birthday. Which it is. For the book. Like a baby, a novel takes about nine months to grow, and there’s a certain amount of hoping, dreaming, weeping, wailing, physical discomfort, and finally, tremendous relief and a joy that makes you forget the previous sleepless nights in which you moaned to complete strangers about your carpal tunnel syndrome and your characters’ infuriating refusal to make funny jokes and/or fall in love with the characters they’re supposed to. So yes, I say, raise a glass, writers. Raise at least one, and make sure those around you also get a stiff drink, because they deserve it.
Luckily for me, my excellent editor Kate is very patient, very generous, and very celebratory, so, accompanied by magical poet-agent Harriet from David Higham Assoc, we went to Dishoom in Kings Cross for lunch, and solemn glass-raising. We toasted All I Ever Wanted in Bollybellini cocktails – lychees, raspberries, cardomom, rose, and prosecco.
So pink. So delicious. Like a birthday party in a flute.
From there, I reeled happily away to the surging streets of the West End, where I signed a pile of books in Waterstones Piccadilly, one of the most magnificent bookshops in the world, then hopped on a bus to gaze in unashamedly wide-eyed joy at the glittery lights of Regent Street and Oxford Street, just like Nancy and Joel do, in the very beginning of All I Ever Wanted. Top deck, front seats. The only way to travel in London, imho. Did you know, in ye olde days, London Transport used to put on special sightseeing buses, just to drive around all the city’s Christmas lights? I would so have gone on that
That was Regent Street (Hamleys, Apple Store, etc) and this is Oxford Street (everything else)
I sat up at the front with my cup of coffee, and my bags around me, feeling more Christmassy with every passing lamp post. Not pictured but equally spectacular – for those of you planning a festive shopping trip to London – are the twinkling balls of mistletoe high in the trees in Sloane Square, set against the waterfall of silver lights on Peter Jones, or the colour-changing lightbulbs hanging down the end of Carnaby Street in Soho.
I hope you spot All I Ever Wanted while you’re out and about over the next few weeks – it’s everywhere! I’m really excited about it, and very proud: it looks beautiful, with pretty, glossy bubbles on the cover, and that gorgeous paper stock that makes you want to stroke the book. Joel and Nancy’s story starts out very sad but it ends in a warm, positive and I hope realistic place for all their extended family – and at this time of year (this strange and eventful year particularly), a happy ending isn’t such a bad Christmas present idea!
In other news, fingers crossed, I’m moving house in the new year and am in the process of sorting out the many hundred thousand copies of my own books I seem to have acquired over the years. (Seriously, I’ve got a wall full. Potential buyers viewing my house must think I’m a stalker.) So watch out for some giveaways over the next few weeks – English, Swedish, Italian, German, Polish, just for starters…
PS YOUR DOGS, please. Ideally, dogs wearing festive ensembles. Tweet to #lucydillondotm or email them to me at the address below!