Today was the 'official' launch day of my debut novel, How Will You Remember Me?, although, like all my babies, it arrived a little early and I have received some incredible feedback, which I am absolutely delighted with.
I'm a firm believer that life shows you both sides on the coin, and I felt the need to send a message to one author this week, to apologise for mercilessly pushing him into the spotlight time, and time again, without any appreciation for how nerve wracking it is.
In my quest for publicity for the novel, I answered a call from a blog looking for authors to interview, and they emailed me asking why should they feature me, what made me unique?
I was stumped; what makes me unique? In a world of conformity, standing out is for the brave, the confident, the stupid, and the deranged. So, which category do I sit in? I probably have a limb in each, however, I don't think it's my uniqueness that makes me good blog fodder, I think it's my 'everydayness'.
I'm 42, a wife, mother, grandmother, full-time worker, I have a crush on Michael Fassbender, and I consider it an achievement to throw make-up at my face on a morning - glamorous is something beyond my reach - but I wrote a book! Me; I did that, and if I can, then you can.
My goal was to write a book I would love to read, a book that was laced with fate and emotion - from humour to heartbreak - and one that not only delivered a happy ending, but one that left its reader with hope that a ‘happy ever after’ out there for them, if they needed it. The feedback I have had this week tells me it worked.
How Will You Remember Me? is a serendipitous tale of love, life, and loss, which explores the idea of fate, and that everything happens for a reason, but when something truly awful happens can it ever be justified?. The protagonist, Catherine Harvey, moved to Belfast to build a new life after her divorce, and seven years later she has her material and physical needs covered. After the death of her ex-husband, and lustful thoughts about a sexy stranger at the funeral, she realises she is ready to share her life with a special someone, all she has to do is find him. Connor Maxwell returns to his hometown after suffering a devastating loss, and attempts to put his life back together. As his world begins to heal, it brings him far more than he bargained for.
I am donating my royalties - 10% of sales - to Mind Your Mate & Yourself, a not-for-profit organisation in Northern Ireland who help people struggling with their everyday life by raising self-esteem, self-awareness, and encouraging self-care and self-respect. The founder, Ray Cunningham, is an exceptional and insightful individual who has given me some brilliant guidance over the last few months, and I hope to help them, help others.
Today, I was featured on a book blog that I also do guest reviews for, and it contained some information on how my love for writing was recently rekindled through involvement in a friends project; ‘The Ultimate Creative Challenge’ (TUCC) (Facebook.com/ultimatecreativechallenge).
If they do interview me, I hope that even one person who is up to their eyes in life reads it and thinks ‘well if she can, I can’; because that’s what matters – inspiration – and it’s what TUCC is all about; inspiring people to be more. I would also like to sell a gazillion copies of the book and hand over a big fat donation to the guys at MYMY because those people actually save lives. Now that’s inspiring.