You would be forgiven for thinking that having your first book published is the epitome of excitement, that it doesn’t get any better than that. And, in many ways, you’d be right. Before my Artesans of Albia series was accepted by Rhemalda, I spent many years believing nothing could top being offered a contract, and then seeing my very own creation, my book, displayed on a bookstore shelf. Don’t get me wrong – that was, and still is, one of the best moments of my life. But, of course, the excitement doesn’t end there.
There’s the entire exciting process before the book is ready for publication – editing, cover design, layout, etc – followed by reviews, a book launch and, hopefully, the thrill of fan mail. There’s a bit of stress involved there too, of course, but on the whole, the process is exciting, especially the nearer you get to completion. For some reason, I didn’t consider any of these things when I was dreaming my dream of publication. I guess I thought I wouldn’t have much involvement in the cover design and book layout stage; I imagined the publisher would have their own style and that I, as the author, would have little or no say in how the book looked. It’s one of the many perks of signing with a small press rather than a large, impersonal one – you get much more say in these important decisions, and it was my first unexpected excitement.
There have been others along the way and they will probably be subjects of other blog posts. But my latest excitement was the most unexpected of all, and I can still hardly believe it happened. It resulted from a casual stroll around an antiques centre following a nice walk with my husband, Dave, back in the summer. The UK has many of these centres – they sell traditional antiques such as furniture, items of silver, old paintings, etc, but they also sell architectural salvage, such as old stone urns or statues from people’s gardens, as well as “kitchenalia” and jewelry. In fact, you can find almost anything. Outside this particular shop, mounted on the wall high above my head, as if it was flying, was the most gorgeous metal owl. Sculpted in rusted iron, it is, to me, a thing of incredible beauty. It was a bit pricey though, and we left the shop without buying it. Imagine my excitement when I found that Dave had bought it for me for Christmas! He is just so lovely (Dave, I mean. Well, and the owl too.)
After I had opened this wonderful present on Christmas Day, Dave proceeded to tell me the story that went with it. As a way of advertizing my book, both of our cars carry flyers in the window depicting the King’s Envoy cover. When Dave went to visit the workshop of the artist who made the owl, in order to collect mine, the artist saw my flyer. He was instantly drawn to the depiction of the tangwyr, the strange flying predator on the cover, and asked Dave all about it. He said he liked to create strange and wonderful creatures in metal and that my tangwyr would make an excellent sculpture. He said he might make one later in the year. In fact, he was so taken with the idea that he made his sculpture within two weeks, and sent Dave some photos of it. Because Dave didn’t want to tell me about the owl, he had to wait until Christmas to show me these incredible pictures. To say that I was amazed and excited would be a huge understatement!
So it seems that being an author and having a book published can lead to all sorts of wonderful and exciting things. I feel so proud that my tangwyr creation, brought to life initially by the talented artist Eve Ventrue, should have led to its existence as a striking and beautiful work of the metal smith’s art. I simply have to have one, and have high hopes for my birthday in March. Watch out for another blog post then!