Apologies for the blatant Sinatra reference, but I was thinking of the opening lyric to this famous song today.
What made the song play on repeat in my head today was a wonderful tweet I received. As you know, my seventh book, A Parcel for Anna Browne, launches on 24th September. The lovely lady who tweeted me said she had ordered the book and couldn’t wait to read it.
It isn’t the first time I’ve received a tweet like this, but today it struck a chord. This year, it’s sixteen years since I first started to write what eventually became my first novel, Fairytale of New York. At the time I had no idea I was even writing a novel, let alone dare to dream that one day it might be published. It was just a story I started to write for fun – just for me – and I didn’t really expect anyone else to read it.
If someone had told me, in 1999, that people I haven’t even met would be ordering my books before they were published, I would never have believed them.
Over the years, it’s gradually sunk in that I am a published author (although it still feels weird to see it written down like that!) and, since 2013, that I am a full-time published author. But with each new book I’m blessed to be able to release, I’m increasingly amazed when lovely readers tell me how excited they are to read my latest work.
I don’t ever want to take this for granted. Ever. Because I remember the years and years of dreaming about walking into a bookshop and seeing my books there. It’s a thrill I will never get used to.
In November last year, I was invited my my local Waterstones store in Merry Hill, Dudley, to sign copies of I’ll Take New York. When I went into the store, the display they had put together blew me away:
All my books, together, in one beautiful display.
I was a mess. I think I blubbed over everyone (apologies if you were there and faced the deluge!) What was so amazing was that my dream had come true, not just once, but six times over.
Here’s what I’m saying: this isn’t about me bragging about how many books I have in Waterstones – it’s about something I’d dreamed about, hoped for – but, if I’m honest never really thought would ever be possible – coming true. And, like Ol’ Blue Eyes himself sings, it can happen to you.
I know there will be writers reading this blog right now who feel they have been dreaming about being published for ever. Maybe you feel it’s never going to happen. I just want to encourage you to keep believing, keep dreaming – keep writing the stories that are burning in your heart. Don’t think it can’t happen. Because it happened to me – and there is nothing special about me. I just wrote the book I wanted to and I didn’t stop.
This year, I have seen three lovely friends who dreamed of being published finally being signed by publishers. There will be more, too, because as long as there are readers there will be stories that need to be told. Stories like yours.
It can happen to you.
I think the only way to end this blog post is to let a certain silken-voiced crooner play us out. Take it away, Frankie…