Gentle Reader,
If you cast your eyes ever so slightly to the right, you will see my “Progress Report” Bar.  Do notice that it is completely, completely, filled in with a lovely purple hue from left all the way to the right.  Yes, it’s really true this time.  I have, to the best of my current ability, completed Novel “2,” now known as A Clash of Innocents.  Set in Cambodia in 2007 and against the backdrop of the Tribunal held to bring the leaders of the Pol Pot era to justice, it follows the lives of Western adults and Khmer children and their Phnom Penh orphanage.  It is a story about hidden identities and questioned motives, about the aftermath of murder, guilt and innocence. Undoubtedly, you’ll be hearing more about this as time goes by.  But I thought this might be a particularly good time for me to look back on the roller coaster that was the publication of my first novel, Tangled Roots, and help remind us all of the sorts of highs and lows the coming months may have in store.  In some ways, writing the thing is the easy part……
We begin in 2005:
I finish my manuscript. UP
I sign on with an agent.  UP
We show it to over 40 US publishers who mostly love it but don’t want to publish it (for “marketing reasons”)  DOWN
During the course of writing what I thought was novel 2, I realize that I am actually writing the other half of novel 1 and do a complete rewrite  DOWN then UP
Agent brings new novel to NY Book Fair.  Many love it, but don’t want to buy it (for “marketing reasons”)  DOWN
After a year of rejections by “the big boys,” I get tired of it all and show it to the editor of bluechrome for his advice.  He asks to publish it though advises me to show it to the big UK firms first.  I decide I’ve had enough showing it around and I say yes to his publishing it.  UP
I begin my blog and my new life on the internet UP
The hard cover of Tangled Roots is launched. HUGE UP
I hire a pr firm who set up a series of interviews and articles about me and my new book.  UP
Lovely reviews start coming in UP, but none in mainstream press  DOWN
I pack my bags and go out on the road, visiting bookstores around the UK, selling handfuls of books as I go.  UP
My agent suddenly and unexpectedly retires.  DOWN
No foreign rights of any sort have been sold.  DOWN
I (temporarily, as it turns out) sign up with a lovely new agency so that my book isn’t out there all alone in the world  UP 
The paperback is published  UP
My publisher begins to disappear without any indication of distribution, press, royalties etc.  DOWN
My publisher disappears for good, so it seems.  DOWN

And now it is four years, 11 UPs and 8 DOWNs later.  I’m that much older, somewhat wiser, just as optimistic but with a stronger light of reality shining in my eyes.  I won’t pretend that riding these roller coasters are easy.  I also won’t pretend that I don’t fight nearly every day against varying degrees of fatigue and despair.  But I’m still here.  A new book is written.  I’m sure it will have its own tumultuos life and I will be moaning and celebrating with you here throughout.  So, what have I learned from all this?  Nothing, except that reason has very little to do with this writing life of ours.  The highs of the ups don’t always make up for the lows of the downs.  But the more I allow myself to think about stopping the roller coaster and getting off, the more I realize I never will. 

“So”, she says with a very deep breath and a resigned nod of the head, “ever onward.”