Less than three weeks until my first book In Bed with the Atlantic is published. It’s entirely unbelievable to me that it’s happening after so long, but it’s true.
I started writing the book proper in the Bahamas in the very beginning of 2016 but I had really been writing it for the year beforehand as well. I compiled a book proposal during the months in the Bahamas and I still remember the email I got from Bloomsbury when I was about a mile off a new island. They liked the proposal, they wanted me to finish the book and send it to them.
It was an exquisite day – as it usually is in the Bahamas – and I had never felt better.
Bloomsbury didn’t end up offering me a publishing deal, their eventual rejection was the first of many. I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve sent it to. All gave the same response, ‘thanks but no thanks.’
I gave up for a while. It wouldn’t be published, it wasn’t good enough. It made sense, after all, who actually get’s a publishing deal? A small minority of those who wrote books. But something dug away at me. The more I read and edited In Bed with the Atlantic the more I loved it, the more I wanted other people to love it too.
And so, with one last push, I sent it to Fernhurst books. Previously part of Wiley, they separated from the mammoth publishing house to purely focus on nautical titles. Surely if anybody would love my book then they would?
I received the offer of a book deal about 4pm on a Friday. I was in the office, alone. My colleagues had left early and I hopped about the room squealing in sheer euphoria. I couldn’t process it at all. All I knew was that it was happening.
The following months were strange, the signing of the contract, the endless pouring over pages making sure it was as good as it could be. I languished in the fast and loose attitude I had towards tense throughout the book. Some is past, some is present, some writing is immediate, some is thoughtful – it’s how I felt, it’s real. Who needs rules?
It was due to be published in January 2019 and I set my expectations for then. It seems so far away. When my publisher got in touch to say they’d decided to bring it forward, I couldn’t believe it. They moved the publication date to 11th September. I would have a book published just two weeks shy of my 30th. I had, inadvertently, achieved a lifelong goal.
I received the first copy last week. I got home and found it in a jiffy bag by on the doorstep, practically birthed through my letter box. Now there’s a sentence.
It’s an impossible object as I hold it in my hands. It contains so much, so much more than the paper and ink.
I love it. I hope you will too.