28 May 2020. According to the review copy of The Young Survivors sitting here on my desk, today should be my publication day. But the global pandemic of Covid-19 forced the decision to delay publication until 23 July. I have no doubt this was the correct decision despite being made some time ago when we had no idea how badly Covid-19 was going to affect the UK or for how long we would be in lockdown. At first, I thought lockdown would be good for authors and publishers; readers would have more time and desire to lose themselves in a great book. When bookstores were forced to close and online sellers struggled to fulfil orders, it was clear that publishing was not going to escape the effects of the virus.
Despite this, lockdown has been mainly positive for me. I can work from home, something which keeps me very busy. Although we mourn with friends and colleagues who have lost dear family members, our family has thankfully escaped such tragedy. Our teenage daughter welcomed the cancellation of her GCSE’s and we all embraced the sudden disappearance of exam stress from our household. Instead of revising she is now sleeping, exercising and spending a lot of time with us - we play badminton in the garden, go on long dog walks and she beats us at Rummikub on a regular basis. We’ve had dress-up Fridays, a ‘Come Dine with Me’ competition and my husband has painted the outside of the house, jet-washed the driveway and cleared out the garage. My older daughter who lives on the other side of London has taken to calling me every day, which is also something to treasure.
Yes, my hair has turned grey and I’ve put on some weight, which thankfully doesn’t show in tracksuit trousers, but I will always cherish this family time when we got our daughter back. I have no doubt that once life is back to ‘normal’ that she’ll be off again, and we’ll only see her at mealtimes and when she wants a lift somewhere, which will be ok, because we’ve had these special months together. And hopefully I will be busy then too – maybe some promotional work for my book, or I may even begin to write another one. In the meantime, just a little reminder that The Young Survivors is available to pre-order now (links on the home page) and you don’t pay until it is published.