So. The book is now published. It’s been a busy fortnight, gearing up for things, but now people can buy it and read it and hopefully like it. Ultimately, I want people to really like it, that’s what it is about. During my best, most confident moments I just think I’m fine with whatever because I know it’s a really good book and it reads well and it has some prose in there I think works well and the interviews come alive. At my worst moments it’s just anxiety and a horribly tense relationship with the fact that anyone can read it and anyone can say anything and people ask me things which aren’t about what I was writing.
But so far, it’s been good. Of all the places I never thought I’d see my name in print, let alone a picture of me winning the Cheltenham Hardrider, the Spectator magazine would be right at the top of the list. But lo and behold, they ran a lovely review courtesy of the brilliant Graham Robb who writes great books. There are things, incidentally, in this review which are completely on the nose and had me reframing a couple of things. Ergo, it’s a great review. Here:
Jack Luke at bike radar also said the most amazing things about this book. He read it fully (in my experience, about 50% of reviewers have actually done a front to back, and of those 50%, around 50% realise they are reviewing a book and not telling people about themselves) and he is generous in his praise. Again, he’s picked up on the threads here, the different strands and what I am trying to say about stuff. I had a lovely chat with him last week and it is worth a listen.
It has cropped up elsewhere. I did BBC Radio Devon which was peculiar but nice. I am on Radio Cumbria this Thursday at 8pm for quite a lengthy stint and looking forward to it. The Rouleur podcast was good. To be honest, these are mostly life ambitions that are getting ticked off, being interviewed by these people. The reality is it’s quite nerve-racking, I’m used to it being the other way round so when someone drops the “silence” technique on you, as Jack Thurston did yesterday in a long and quite intense chat, it’s a bit disconcerting. I found the bike show interview the most stressful of all, partly because I’m so invested in this show, a lifelong fan, but partly because Jack came at things from an angle outside the book and I felt a bit overwhelmed. There is a wider thread here in that when you write a book about a *thing* people then view you as the definitive expert in that *thing* but in reality all you did was research and write a book, sometimes in a pretty selective way. I think the bike show is up in about ten days or so. I hope it comes across well but I did feel like I was floundering at times.
So, a busy few days, but I’m thrilled by the response and I’m excited. I’m reining in my impulsive, over thinking side (read the book if you want to know what this side is like in full and unencumbered glory) and I’m staying positive, even if everyone who I know is saying things like “hello esteemed local author” instead of “hi pj” and my mum is asking who will play her in the film and critiquing the interview on radio Devon, her “it got better” is up there with “this one is better than your last one which was a bit boring to be honest” in the realms of constructive maternal criticism.
Lastly, for the three long suffering readers of this blog, one of whom is mum, there are still some signed copies at StorySmith and at rare mags. Keep the comments coming, stay safe, and see you up the road.