It was a long pregnancy, but a few days ago I was blessed with the arrival of my first…novel. Like my actual pregnancies (three of them!), I was impatient for the arrival and thought it would never come. It had been 17 years in the making, which beats an elephant’s 22-month pregnancy by far. Even if you subtract the years that I put it away for various reasons, it was still a long pregnancy. Just the publishing process—from submission to being available at your neighborhood Amazon location—took hmmm…22 months. Interesting coincidence.
However, like many first pregnancies, including my own, when birth was imminent, I started having second thoughts not unlike the hugely pregnant woman who can barely walk who says, “I’ve changed my mind.” Of course, there’s no logical way to turn back at this point, but people about to give birth are rarely logical. The change of mind, I believe, is our way of saying “I’m not sure I’m ready for this.”
It’s also about not wanting to let go of your “baby.” Once you give birth, you lose that special connection that made the baby yours. Now, your baby becomes part of the world at large and susceptible to all the joys and pains of living.
Labor pains came with the birth of my book just as with my children, although they were less physical. There’s a wider range of drugs available to dull the pain of publishing a novel, from food to alcohol to FreeCell games.
I’ve published over thirty children’s nonfiction books, written parts of a few travel guidebooks, and published dozens of articles over the years. But publishing a novel was different just as different pregnancies are unique. Not better, just different.
Now it’s time to step back and allow my first-born to stretch its wings in the world (I will admit that this part is INFINITELY easier than the raising and letting go of actual children. For one thing, books don’t talk back!). Goodbye, A Class on Murder. It’s been a grand ride, but it’s time for us to move on. I have other children waiting to be born.