Kind, interested people keep asking how I feel about the book coming out. I wish I knew. Sometimes, I feel like this:
This was taken on a brilliant afternoon when I got to hang with the coolest of birds, Brann the raven. I am still occasionally saying 'Wow!' at the sheer wonder of it. Yes, he really is that big. He's also the gentlest of creature, flies like an airborne ninja and loves his work. Even when he has to pose with authors. It was an amazing day, and I was blown away by the wonderful life the handlers, Lloyd and Rose Buck, give these birds. Brann loves working because he gets to hang out with Lloyd. Check out their website. We met all sorts of birds, including stunt starlings (there's a sequence with Chris Packham) and a golden eagle that started Russell saying 'Wow' too. My only regret is not spending time with their crow, but he was chilling, still in his moult, so we didn't disturb him. That beak can crack a walnut.
Other times I feel like I'm just plodding away writing, looking after kids and animals, and life is much as it was a year before when I didn't have a deal yet. Other writers have warned me, it's a quiet time and it's normal. I feel I should have T-shirts printed or something. 'Ask me about my book' or something. Although, I still can't pitch it, so it would lead to a lot of odd conversations. This is my fault, not the book's! We're worrying about money along with everyone else because I haven't seen any money for many months and we have extra kids home. So, we are thinking about selling our house. Now, this makes me heartsick, because I love living here. It's old and creaky and none of the floors are level but it has hot and cold running woodpeckers and badgers, everyone has their own room - and it's high above the valley facing south. But we moved here with five kids and all their stuff and we'll be down to two in the autumn as two boys go off to university. Maybe that's where the sadness is coming from.
One lovely distraction is the camaraderie I'm getting from the writing groups in Barnstaple, and other writers I've met. I'm also teaching, always a joy, and that is as grounding as it gets. Here are these people writing some great stuff, and the only difference between me and some of them is probably the amount I've written and a modicum of luck. I think a couple of them will catch me up. It's a great community to be part of.