If you asked me what I feel a month before the North American release of my debut novel The Lost Ones, I would say anxiety. Which is probably natural and something that I treat with wine and hours hitting the bag at my muay thai gym. A little deeper past the anxiety, however, lies a vast well of gratitude. For my mother, firstly, and the imagination she gifted me with, and for the other writers in my life who have heaped kindness upon kindness on me.
My road to publication often seems like a whirlwind, and the truth is that I could not have done this without an immense amount of support— especially the support of other writers.
I wrote The Lost Ones in solitude. I’d moved to a new city, across the country, to work on it. But the certainty I’d felt that I could do this, that I had in me, came from a wonderful crime writer named Robert Rotenberg who gave me a peek into his writing process. At the time, with no novel writing experience but with this little insight, I thought, I see this! I can do this!
When I had a finished manuscript, Robert told me to go pitch it in New York at Pitchfest. This is where I got my agent. But I’d also met someone who had also pitched at this conference, a man who’d made some sexist remarks. They cut deep. I went to an event where the incredible writer Roxane Gay was doing a signing. At the table, I told her about these remarks and asked how she dealt with that sort of thing. I’ll never forget what she told me. She said that I’d worked hard to be where I am, and not to let anyone diminish me. And then she smiled at me. I cherish those words, that small kindness.
In Vancouver, I was introduced to some of the local crime fiction community. A writer named Linda L. Richards made a point to champion my work whenever she could. She was always there for me when I needed her. There were other members of the west coast crime fiction community that embraced me and my work.
In the UK, some incredible writers welcomed me into their fold and invited me to their events.
Going to readings and signings over the past year, I have had the pleasure of hearing a diverse array of authors speak, and gained bits of wisdom from them all.
Now, on the eve of my release, I think of them all. These artists, these wordsmiths, who have given their time, and their love, to me. I am grateful for them all.