Today’s one of those days that you always dream about as a writer – Where the Light Gets In is a SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER! It was the 7th bestselling fiction paperback last week (and the 9th bestselling paperback overall) and it’s really hard to say how much this means to me without swerving dangerously into Gwyneth Paltrow Oscar acceptance territory.
But I will have a go. Because I need to say some thank yous.
THANK YOU to everyone who’s bought this novel, or talked about it, or reviewed it, or thought about buying it (go on, please) – it’s amazing to think well over nine thousand people all went out last week and came home with a copy! Fair enough, I know my dad likes to pick up a few in Tesco when he’s passing (so he can tell the cashier he’s my dad – he is officially the Best Dad in the World) but even he hasn’t bought all nine thousand. I don’t think, anyway. It never stops boggling my mind that characters and conversations that started in my head somehow make their way into your heads and settle there. Thank you for letting them in – it’s the biggest compliment I could hope for. And if you’ve taken the time to get in touch, you have no idea how much that makes any writer’s day!
I’m also very lucky to have such amazingly supportive publishers, who came up with so many creative ways to bring those books into readers’ hands. Did you hear my radio ads on Heart? Or see the gorgeous train posters on the mainline stations? (Come round to mine – I’ve got one laminated in my study. It’s… quite big.) From the tiny golden dachshunds dancing on the endpapers of the lovely hardback, it’s been one special thing after another. And then another special thing. And then Book of the Week in Waitrose which I suspect my late godmother is still showing off to people about up in the great Retirement Home in the Sky.
And speaking of which…
Joyce’s story was inspired – in some ways, not the rattiness or the slacks, I hasten to add – by my mum, who also decided she wanted to die at home, in her own space, surrounded by memories. We couldn’t have made that happen for her without the Hospice at Home team, who were unflappably calm and patient and kind. I need to say a big thank you to them. I don’t mind admitting that I was terrified when Mum first broke the news that she didn’t have very long left with us, because death is so far removed from our modern society – unlike my parents’ generation, for whom every village had a midwife and an end-0f-life-wife. But I’m so glad that we were able to talk about what would happen, and what Mum would like to happen, because when the end did hove into sight, it was a comfort to know we were doing exactly what she wanted, when she couldn’t tell us. If Where The Light Gets In encourages one family to have that difficult conversation, then I know Mum would be delighted, if sorry that it had to be had in the first place.
I’m also really lucky to have a wonderful man who brings me tea in bed when I’ve been writing and crying all night, and a patient dog who sits on my feet when I haven’t moved from my desk for four hours. And to be able to do what I love, all day, every day, even if it’s sometimes hard and sometimes impossible. But sometimes, like today, a little bookworm girl’s dream come true.