My book is now with publishers. JM e-mailed me yesterday afternoon at work and confirmed that she has sent it out. She says she has her fingers crossed.
I sat staring at the unopened e-mail for a few seconds before I clicked on it to open it.
I work in an open plan office and everyone was doing their own thing. It was 4.30, quiet, with just the sound of tapping fingers, humming of overhead fans and the occasional rustling of paper. It was just another e-mail.
So why, then, did I feel as if the entire population of Kettering was looking over my shoulder?
I clicked on it to open it, just as my phone rang simultaneously. The sound of the phone made me jump. I answered it. It was reception.
DAMN! I had an appointment at 5.30 and he was here a whole hour early!
Well - the poor bloke. I just shoved him in the Council Chamber (I didn't want to take him up to the office because of the e-mail. What I really wanted to do was tell Heather and jump up and down in the privacy of the Democratic Services kitchen without the straight-jacket of an Iimportant Consultant from the IDeA in the office.)
DAMN. There was no water in the kettle in the Chamber. I shoved the spout under the nozzle of the little tap on the water cooler. Water splashed everywhere.
'Be careful,' my visitor said, alarmed. He thought it was a boiler, and then realised it wasn't, laughing at himself.
'What's up with you?' he said. 'You're a bundle of nerves.'
Now. I know this man is a Very Important Consultant with High Level Connections with Very Important Government Ministers; hell - he's even on first name terms with our 'Gordon'! I also know he is devoted to his wife and kids, has two very sloppy labradors and LOVES reading. I know all about his kids. I know where he lives. I know lots of things about Very Important Visitor. I know all these things because we've spent quite a few hours talking about such things as 'Books We Have Read' , 'Where We Are Going on Holiday' and 'The Ups and Downs of Life with Labradors' when we should have been working on boring local government stuff.
I decided I knew Very Important Visitor well enough to tell him about my book, and the just-opened e-mail on my PC upstairs.
What I wasn't expecting was the reaction.
'I knew it,' he said, a wide, silly grin plastered over his face. 'I knew there was a lot more to you than met the eye. KBC will be losing a damned good democratic services manager.' (Aaaah - he was only being nice - we do get on quite well despite his Very Important status.
'I'm not leaving,' I said. 'Authors don't earn very much. I need to keep my job.'
'Bloody hell,' he said. 'When can I read it? What's the title? What's it about? Can I come to your book launch? Oh, please ... you've just got to invite me to your book launch.'
'I haven't got a publisher yet,' I said - a tad alarmed at the public display of excitement. 'Don't go spreading it around.'
Anyway. This little conversation with Very Important Person is significant on my journey out of the writing closet.
I've finally told someone - outside close friends and family - about my book and being a secret writer. Do you know - it felt quite good? In fact, it felt bloody marvellous!
Could it be that people won't think I'm mad after all?
Now who would have thought I'd have said that a year ago!