Saturday marked the six-month birthday of The Spellbinding Secret of Avery Buckle hitting bookshop shelves so I couldn’t resist celebrating with a cat cake! Publication had already been delayed by a year due to Covid, and even then, released just after the third lockdown here in Devon, Avery Buckle emerged into a retail market that is, quite frankly, still very wobbly. But readers, librarians, book sellers, book reviewers, and teachers have been so kind over the last six months, so to all those who have supported the book – Thank you!
Once my tea and cake had gone down, I hot-footed it over to Seaton’s bookshop, Owl and Pyramid, to chat all things Avery Buckle, with the little book group that meets there. Chatting with young readers has been one of my favourite things about having a book published, and I haven’t been able to do nearly enough of it due to the pandemic, so this was a real treat. Nevertheless, it can be hard to shake off the feeling of being an ‘author’ imposter, never helped by questions about the next book. I can only be philosophical about that at the moment – publishing is a competitive game even when we’re not crawling through a global slowdown, caused by a worldwide pandemic. I’m just one small person in that context, with minimal power to do much about anything, except to keep writing. Which is what I have been doing. The next book and the next book and the next book have all been written. One has gone out to submission and another will soon… so, who knows? It’s not the rock ’n’ roll answer they’re looking for, and I‘d love to tell them about a bidding war, a three-book deal, and multiple sequels in the pipeline, but never mind. Life’s not a fairy tale for most people and easy rides make rubbish stories! 🙂
So, after an evening of feeling a bit ‘funny’ about things, I was all to glad when one of my favourite days of the year dawned cool and misty, giving way to glorious blue skies by the afternoon – the local, annual ploughing match. We can’t have been the only ones who were sad to miss it last year, cancelled due to Covid restrictions, because there was a bumper turn-out this year. It was such a treat, watching the tractors, picking our favourites, stroking the horses, inspecting the produce, and chomping on more cake and tea! I dug the toes of my shoes into the deep, red, Devon earth, savoured the Devon colloquialisms amongst the chatter, and took in a big ol’ lungful of Autumn air – glad to be rooted to this place, come what may. We returned home for roast dinner in the garden and raised a toast to the Harvest.