We decided to abandon ship for 24 hours this weekend and head for an internet-free zone – to the extent that, stopping at a cafe, I had barely crossed the threshold when a squeak came out of my mouth; Do you have internet? The waitress looked down and shook her head – sorry, no…we can’t get a signal. Fantastic, I said, beaming at the puzzled girl as we settled ourselves and the two chihuahuas comfortably by a rack of out-of-date magazines and the local paper. That was just the right answer. But the weirdest thing that happened was en route for home. The traffic lights had turned to red and we stopped outside a bookshop. Scanning the shop window, I did a double, triple, then multi-take as I realised that a familiar cover was peering back at me, omplete with its bougainvillea, sunset and pretty lady staring out to sea, blazing its title, The Thinking Tank for all to see. This was it. I was looking at my own book, which was looking back at me. Now, I know I shouldn’t have been surprised since I was the one who had supplied the books to this particular chain. But it still just seemed surreal and I somehow had not expected it to be thrust boldly into view. This is amazing. Just amazing. I am so grateful to the universe and to everyone who supported me on the journey to being published. I am so stunned and so excited at seeing my book not only in print but in print, in a shop window, in a shop that I have long respected and in which I have spent many, happy browsing-hours and hopefully will do again – probably on 7th October when I install myself in Walkers Books, Bourne in the hope that that some lovely customers will want a signed copy of my book.
So why did we want to escape the net? The irony of having written a novel called The Thinking Tank is that since completing the process I have barely had a minute to think. Somehow with the internet beckoning us at all times of the night and day, our quiet spaces disappear and for me, the joy of a careless flick through a magazine, the pleasure of allowing the mind to wander off and smell the roses in some distant place, the space to allow another story to sift itself into a proper plot with real, vivid and honest characters, all of that is lost in the constant need to feed this or that social site, to answer this or that quirky question, to be active, to market, to present and not just to be.
But somehow seeing The Thinking Tank in that lovely shop window has been a reminder that this is what I have to do. Like it or not, the net has been my very best friend through the whole process – from writing through to finding a publisher, from editing through to cover design, so I can be out there, on the market, in the high street so people can find me, to buy me, to read me, to make everything make sense.