So it turns out Nicola from Wysewomen Publishing was absolutely spot-on, and books are almost exactly like babies. They're exhausting, stressful and painful to produce, a labour of love. They force you to confront strengths, weaknesses and feelings you didn't even know you had. They come when they're ready, everybody congratulates you and makes a fuss of you...
And then suddenly it's time to face the reality of life as a published author, with your whole subconscious downloaded onto pages for anybody to read and judge. If you're good/lucky (which by and large I have been so far) folk will read what you've written and take the messages you intended from it. But you also have to resign yourself to the fact that some folk are just never going to "get" what you've written or why you wrote it. This is probably why it took me until I was nearly 40 to write my first book - despite having been a keen and skilled writer since childhood. Too afraid of what people would think of me!
So the time since The Silver Moon Storybook went to print has felt weirdly postnatal for me. I've been resting a lot, keeping my circle extremely small and taking it very easy. The public reviews have helped a lot, being universally positive so far, and I am nurturing my confidence in my work as much as possible. This is a process I should have gone through with my *actual* babies, but as anybody who's ever met me in the immediate postnatal period will know, I turn into a terribly hyperactive people-pleaser with a newborn, and am far far too influenced by outside opinions - like society's expectation that we boing straight back into normal life as if we haven't just gone through a stupidly intense physical and emotional experience that takes some time and space to process.
I blame oxytocin - they call it the "hormone of love" but I maintain it's the "hormone of f****ing gullible" as I have never once managed to make a rational, evidence-based decision when under its influence - I will believe literally anything anybody tells me. Luckily the more babies I had, the more I surrounded myself with people who actually understood what was in my/my babies' best interests while I was done up on birthing and breastfeeding hormones, hence I managed to make better decisions and develop more trust in my own parenting instincts.
Luckily the key difference between books and babies is the absence of literary oxytocin, so I'm capable of making good decisions on my own behalf now. Hooray! And with that in mind, I'm going to go out on a limb and say "no more books for a good long while". I'm already being asked when the next one is coming, and although I know there are plenty more fairy tales in the bag, I'm going to focus on my current book baby for the moment and see what I can do about getting these messages into as many hands as possible.
So look out for more reviews of The Silver Moon Storybook to come, as I crank up the self-published marketing machine. If anybody out there would like me to come and speak about the book and its themes/messages, please give me a shout. At the moment I have one event in the pipeline, and am very happy to do more.