The last seven days have felt like the week before my wedding and not just because publication day also involved flowers and quite a lot of cake. I’ve had that similar bubbling undercurrent of adrenalin, when all the detail that’s been in the planning for more than a year finallycomes together.
First came the reviews. It had been months since my publicist Jess Barratt sent out proof copies of YOU ME EVERYTHING to key journalists, reviewers, bloggers and literary editors. This week, the verdicts were in. I’d hoped people would be kind. In the event, they were so kind some brought tears to my eyes. ‘A heart-breakingly real and poignant story of love, regret and second chances,’ said HEAT. ‘This is one of the books that everyone will be talking about. Make sure you’re one of them.’
‘Fans of Me Before You will love this heart-tugging novel and with film rights already sold, You Me Everything is destined for big things’, added Red. The novel was reviewed by Bella, Cosmopolitan, Closer, Fabulous, Good Housekeeping, the Sunday Mirror, Prima ... and to my surprise and delight they still kept coming. Between these and the advertising posters that began to appear on station platforms, by Thursday – publication day – my calm, collected veneer cracked. I was giddy and I couldn’t hide it. THE DAY HAD FINALLY COME!
I woke at 5.30 to find the first ‘happy publication day’ Tweet on my phone and, from that point, didn’t stop all day. After dropping the kids at school (because mum duties don’t stop even on days like this), I headed straight for the BBC Radio Merseyside studios to chat to presenter Sean Styles live on air. You can listen to the interview here. Then it was back home to respond to a mountain of well-wishes on social media… all of which I hope I managed to reply to personally, but please forgive me if I missed anyone.
I tried to do some ‘proper’ work for the rest of the day, honestly I did. But between the Instagramming, preparing speeches, getting my hair done and my general state of high excitement, I didn’t achieve much. And before I knew it, it was time to head to the official launch event at Waterstone’s, Liverpool 1, where I was joined by around 100 readers, friends, family, publishing colleagues, media, bloggers and fellow authors, all of whom had come to celebrate with me.
The evening began as all good events do - with fizz and cupcakes - then I took to the stage to answer questions from my friend, journalist Dawn Collinson (the next Lorraine Kelly, according to my mum). I read from two very different sections of the book, one funny chapter and one sad, then took some fantastic questions from the audience.
After signing lots of books, a few friends and I finished the evening with a drink and a bite to eat in The Club Housein Liverpool One, before I crashed into bed with one final thought in my head: ‘You Me Everything’ is now finally on the bookshelves. And this is where it all really starts.