On Monday December 10th I hit the upload button on Amazon’s site and gave birth to a two hundred and forty-eight page novel. MY NAME IS HARDLY is book two in the MY TEMPORARY LIFE Trilogy and the minute I released it out into the world I started to feel depressed. I wasn’t “pulling the covers over my head and pass me the ju jubes” depressed, but I definitely felt like something was missing. I’d lived with Hardly and Walter and the Scottish Elvis, and Flora, and all the other characters from my book for the past ten months. Actually, Hardly was in my first book too, so he and I have been acquainted for over three years now, so it’s only natural that I’d miss him. I mean, I’ve been chronicling every minute of his life until recently. I lived with him while he was up the lofts, spying for the army, and I was there when he had to fulfill a promise he’d made, and embark on the most dangerous mission he’d ever taken. I was even with him when he lost his virginity, too. So, since the book came out, I’ve been moping, and feeling some post-publishing depression.
I have a new book I’m working on and I’ve started writing the last book in the trilogy also, but I’m not at a point where the fiction I’m writing has become reality. I’ll know exactly when that happens. Several things will take place. I’ll be out running errands and I’ll drive to the wrong destination. When I leave the house I’ll tell myself I’m going to the grocery store and I’ll end up at the gym. Or, I’ll be due to meet someone at the movies and I’ll drive to the library. Once I’m into a book, and living in the world where it’s set my mind tends to stay in the make-believe world as much as the real one. I’ll mumble to myself as I drive around, I’ll have dreams where the characters from my book are in the dream, or I’ll tell a story to a group of friends and I’ll receive blank looks as they tell me that “Hardly” isn’t a real person. I’ve learned to accept that and I don’t worry about it. I’m forty-eight years old, but in some ways, my life is back to the way it was when I was six. That’s just the way it is. Instead of having a make-believe fort made out of a cardboard box and pretending I’m the last defence as the enemy approaches, I write stories. And, sometimes, I live in the world those stories are set.
The depression will pass of course. I went through this when I released my first book in December of 2011. Part of it isn’t just the separation that comes from finishing the book, and ending the story, it’s waiting to see what readers think of it, too. I had several beta, or test-readers, read MY NAME IS HARDLY before I hit the upload button and published. I received a few suggestions from them, and their comments were all good, but you just never know what kind of reaction you’re going to get. At the time of this blog, it’s been a month since the new book was released. I have twenty-three reviews and several hundred readers have downloaded the ebook, and fortunately, the reviews and the emails I’ve received have been really positive. This morning, as I put the finishing touches on this blog, I received an email from a reader and my depression lifted-totally. I can’t give you all the details but I can tell you that the reader was able to substantiate that my story of British soldiers spying up lofts in Northern Ireland during the time of the Troubles was accurate. It’s not the first email I’ve had that corroborates this. Several folks who were involved during that terrible time have emailed and let me know that my book has provoked discussion in their homes, and even helped them to understand what really happened when the IRA and British Army wreaked so much turmoil on the people living there. When I read that email this morning, my depression lifted, and now I’m working my way into the world of book three in the “My Temporary Life” Trilogy. So, if you’re in the Vancouver, Canada area and happen to see me driving around or wandering aimlessly, don’t worry, I’m okay. It’s 1996 again, and I’m spending time with Hardly and Malcolm and Heather. And, I’ll be there till sometime this Spring, then I’ll publish book three and probably lapse into the same depression. It’s all good though, it really is. I’m six years old again, playing inside my cardboard box and I’m having the time of my life.