Englishman Isaac Shaw is dead. For sixteen years, his family has struggled on in shame, believing he died a criminal—responsible, in 1837, for several deaths when he set fire to the village mill. When Isaac’s youngest son Manny runs away, straight into the path of a traveling Mormon elder, the meeting threatens the family’s future. Charged with care of a letter that challenges the village’s history, Manny must find a way to reveal the identity of a young woman called Hope. The quest is destined to change everything. This plot-driven mystery is a tale of humankind’s eternal search for peace.
Here it is. My book. After the best part of thirteen years--struggling, doubting, and, against the facts hoping--publication is finally at the doors. By the end of March I should be able to call myself a published novelist.
I'm not sure I can fully believe it. I'm not even quite sure what comes next. I know I am enjoying the process; the novel is to be published by the Utah based Walnut Springs Press, via its Currawong Press imprint. I am over the moon that Deseret Book Distributing are an official distributor and delighted Hope will feature in the Deseret Book summer catalogue (that goes out a huge mailing list.) I almost feel like my writerly life is complete.
There's a moment in a favourite film (Chariots of Fire) in which Harold Abrams finally takes gold in his event, the 100 yard dash, and soon afterwards is invited by his friend Aubrey to celebrate; instead, Harold leaves the changing area in a daze, without so much as a goodbye. Lord Lindsay advises Aubrey to leave Harold be, explaining how hard it can be to comprehend and accept one's own success. Ah. Yes. I have a little inkling about that now.
There's a danger here, of course, that in getting so carried away with the fact that a bona fide publisher actually wants and enjoys my work, I begin to sound like a Megalomaniac. Or worse, that I begin to think like one. I hope I don't come across this way. I apologise if I have or ever do. That would be awful.
But in a way, I do feel like I have just been given parole.
For years I have felt imprisoned by falling short, occasionally and (more recently) increasingly in despair, wondering if I would ever achieve my goal, and I suppose a little afraid that it might just have been delusion. It has been a choice to pursue creative ventures, but it has rarely if ever been easy on our family. My wife has been unbelievably loyal, constantly. So this achievement is sweet because I have wanted so much to be published for her sake, for her faith in me. That's why after some thirteen years--and arguably longer, since I began a sustained approach to creative writing the year we married, 1997--this feels like parole.
I hope you won't misunderstand me: my feet are very much on the ground about the book's prospects. I want it to do well. And I'll be trying to make sure it does. But, for nearly six years, I sold books for a living... I know what the realities are. So this is not about getting rich quick (I've got thirteen years to remunerate!) It's about honouring a feeling that creative talents are important. It's about trying to stay true to a belief that the arts can make a difference.
Hang on to the idea that perseverance wins out.
Hopefully you'll forgive this little bit of self-congratulation, and, if you are also doggedly slaving away at a secret--or not so secret--creative project, scratching your head at your defiance of the 'facts'... permit me to encourage you to keep going. Just keep going. It turns out 'they' were right all along: perseverance does pay off in the end.
Hope is due for release April 2014, and will be available in both paperback and electronic forms. Paperback: ISBN 978-1-59992-904-0; E-book: ISBN 978-1-59992-905-7.