FOR the first time ever, from today I have a book on sale in the USA. For someone who’d been writing for over a decade and had nine bestsellers in the UK, none of which ever made it over the pond, I’d reconciled myself with the idea that this day might never come.
So the fact that You Me Everythinghas an American publisher is special enough. That I got to work with an editor who published some of my favourite books of the last twenty years was pinch-yourself stuff. If you're a keen reader with tastes that are anything like mine, the likelihood is that you’ll own a novel that Pamela Dorman has worked on, whether it’s Me Before You, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Bridget Jones’s Diaryor The Secret Life of Bees. My over-whelming feeling when I learnt that we would be working together was to be flattered, excited and, I’ll admit it, daunted. How would I ever live up to the standards set by the authors of those incredible books?
We spoke on the phone on the day Pam acquired You Me Everythingand she was warm, enthusiastic, passionate about her job and her ambition for my novel left me tingling long after we’d ended the call. Over the coming months, as we communicated via email - and on the phone if a plot query was proving stubborn - she was everything a writer could wish for in an editor: rigorous, insightful, encouraging. That’s not to say the edit I undertook for Pam was a doddle. Far from it. It involved months of work on the original novel – lots of restructuring, tearing things up and adding sections that she felt would enhance the characters’ stories. But while I might have needed a long lie down in a dark room after I’d finished, it was worth every minute. The novel became the best it could be, so much so that the version I produced for her formed the basis of that ultimately printed in other countries, including at home in the UK.
One of the most exciting stages of having a book published is seeing your cover for the first time. And it’s no exaggeration to say that when the jacket for the US edition of You Me Everything landed in my inbox it took my breath away. Just LOOK at it! It’s so vivid, escapist, classy; beautifully presented in every way. Despite this, one of the big questions in my mind was whether an author who was completely unknown in the US would ever catch the attention of book reviewers and bloggers. But the team at Viking came up with an inspired publicity and marketing plan which has generated interest, not just on social media but in the press too. Marie Claire gave You Me Everythinga fabulous review, describing it as: ‘Equal parts wry comedy and touching family drama, it’s ultimately a heartbreaker that’ll stay with you long after you’re done.’ Meanwhile, the New York Post called it a ‘Must read.’
Between this and the Instagram posts I keep seeing – of my book in all manner of glamorous American locations – it’s fair to say that excitement about publication day is running high in my household. But, of course, hype is one thing, now it’s over to the readers. And to those in the US who’ve reviewed or pre-ordered You Me Everything, I’d like to say thank you for generously giving this British author’s work a chance. I truly hope you love it.