There was a knock on the door and I could see through the glass that it was the package I'd been waiting for. I could have kissed the Rastafarian postman carrying it, who was needlessy afraid of my chihuahua Max (he really should have his photo on here). Max was in my arms and very cool and relaxed as chihuahuas go. It's true what they say about dogs imitating their owners or vice versa.
The postman was carrying something very different: a brown package containing the author's copies of my poetry collection Never-Never Land. Let me just say here that I will Never Never give a book such an ominous title again. Delays beyond anyone's control have kept me waiting two years to hold this book in my hands, so just in case titles can have this effect I'll call the next one Hot Off the Press.
After such a long delay, punctuated by regular intimations that the book launch was imminent, I'd started getting excited so often that this time I expected to feel nothing. I thought I was numbed to that thrill of seeing and touching the actual printed item. I've been a writer most of my working life, mainly in journalism, so having my writing published is a familiar feeling. My first job as a journalist was when I temporarily left school at 16 wanting to go away and become an author, and a very brave editor of the Kentish Gazette in Canterbury let me join as a junior reporter.
For a year it was my job not only to write but also to get the cheese rolls from the pub downstairs for everyone at 11am, and also to go to the basement print works and gather a pile of newspapers as they did quite literally come hot off the press and into my arms. Upstairs the reporters waited hungrily to flick through the pages to see which of their articles had got pride of place and which had been considered good enough to earn them a byline.
Since then I've had many articles published and also a book of non fiction, plus 14 poems in an anthology by John Murray. But this is my first full collection and poetry is such a great love of mine. The feeling when I opened that parcel and lifted out a book, stroked its cover and looked through the pages, is almost indescribable and something I could never have imagined. I can only compare it to that feeling I had as a child at Christmas, the excitement that's so physical it stays as a thrill in the stomach and radiates through the whole body. It's a feeling you think you will never have as an adult, but there it was again. Bluechrome lets authors have a lot of say in the choice of cover and how they want their book to be in all sorts of ways. To have imagined a book, from its writing to its physical appearance, makes it a wonderful moment when you actually hold the finished article. I shall now go and see how it smells!
There are a limited number of signed copies available from Amazon reseller Muse Harbour Books.