Saturday, 9 July 2016

The Secret Diary of a Debut (& slightly wimpy!) Author by James Nicol

As part of the Apprentice Witch blog tour, I'm pleased to welcome debut author, James Nicol onto the blog with his secret diary!
There are so many wonderful things that happen to you when you have your first book published, there are also lots of odd and crazy things that go on as well. 
So I thought I’d share some of my diary entries with you from the last few months just to give you a flavor of what’s been going on!

Thursday 18th September 2015 
Been to visit lovely friends in Newcastle as part of our staycation. As I am a long way from home and nobody knows me here I bravely decided to brandish my Society of Authors card at the till in Waterstones, to see what would happen. Thankfully the lovely bookseller didn’t laugh and roll his eyes, but did ask all about the book – and gave me my SOA discount on a book as well – happy writer moment!

Friday 25th September 2015
After my success with the SOA card on holiday last week I plucked up the courage to use it a little closer to home. Thinking that even if they said no we don’t take it, it would be a nice lead in to tell them all about the book.
FOOL!
So when I whipped the card from my wallet, smiled and said ‘Do you give discount for Society of Authors’ the rather disinterested person on the till (without even glancing up from her mug of coffee) said in a rather bored fashion ‘No. We don’t!’ and that was that. 
I paid for my books (in a hurry) refused the offer of a bag even though it was pouring down outside and left ASAP. I’ll go in in disguise next time! 

Monday 15th February 2016 
Leave work in total fluster and drive home in pouring rain. Arrive home to find voicemail and assume it’s from work. Contemplate not looking at it until the following morning but I’m so good I can’t help myself! 
WOW – it’s a voicemail from Barry & Kesia (both very excited) to say that The Apprentice Witch has been sold to Scholastic USA. As ever there is nobody around to share the news with. So I take the dog for a walk and ring a writer friend who makes lots of squeeeeee type noises down the phone at me!  

Friday 25th March 2016 
Copy edits & page proofs done in record time and about to leave for Easter Holidays and well-earned rest when suddenly I’m asked to type up dedication and acknowledgments for the book before heading to the Yorkshire Dales and possibly no wi-fi for a week….how will I Tweet?  
Acknowledgments done in about 30 mins and all the way to Yorkshire I panic that I have missed off someone vital who will then never speak to me again…

Tuesday 19th April 2016
I get to visit CPI books, the printers of The Apprentice Witch and see my books having their jackets put on and get wonderful tour of the factory floor. I see my entire first print run jacketed and ready to go in just over an hour. It’s an awe inspiring sight I must say. The lovely CPI folks give me a box of books – MY BOOK! To take home with me. 
It feels quite weird! That’s my book, but it sort of feels a bit separate now as well…is this what it’s like when your children leave home?
It’s all quite emotional and I have to pull over at some services on the way home to have a jolly good blub. I also stop for a self-service costa coffee hot chocolate – it tastes like watery poo! 

Monday 25th April 2015
It’s my wonderful Nana Mollie’s 95th Birthday and I got to give her a copy of The Apprentice WItch. I think she was quite excited about it. She wandered off around the care home to show people ‘Look what my grandson did!’ she said to anyone who was still long enough.  
Then she’d nip back to check what exactly it was I had “done” to the book! 

Sunday 19th June 2016
Yay – we’re off to play on segways this afternoon. Wont that be fun. I hope I can do it, my balance is not always the best and I’m one of those people who is always falling over their own feet in the street. I’m sure it will be fine! And we’re going for pizza afterwards! Yum! 

Monday 20th June 2016
OMG. I think I may have broken my wrist…and possibly done something horrible to my back. Trying to get out of bed was not fun. I eventually had to roll off straight onto the floor! How do I email the Chicken House publicity team and tell them I’ve broken myself and may not be able to do the lovely events they have lined up for me because its too painful to sit on my own bottom and I think my wrist is snapped in two….
OK calm down perhaps your just being over dramatic. Surely its not that bad…
OUCH! No it is that bad. 
Where is the phone number for the doctor…

Thursday  23rd June 2016
Thankfully my wounds were not serious, though sitting down is still rather painful and I’ve arrived in St Helens ready for a day of events in 3 libraries. This is crunch time chaps. Will the powerpoint fail completely. Will I forget how to read my own book? Will I be sick and or pee my pants mid visit? 

Friday 24th June 2016
Despite the political situation which is enough to make you want to sign up for the one way trip to Mars I’ve had the most wonderful day visiting classes at three fabtastic Libraries in St Helens. Everyone makes me feel very welcome, cups of tea flow continuously. Am ferried around in a Fiat 500, at one point there are three grown adults in the car, a full size real life broom stick, my two boxes of props etc for the events and three huge boxes of stock…I still don’t quite know how we did it! 
The children are all lovely – am slightly crestfallen when the first ever child to buy a copy of the book wanders away without asking for me to sign it! Shes convinced by a kid  teacher that she really would like it signed! I also discovered the perils of modern children’s names. Even the ones you think you know how to spell catch you out! 
‘And is that “Ben” with a B, E and N?’ 
The child shakes his head sadly. 
“Silly me of course it has an “x” in it!”

One day down….quite a few more to go! 

The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol (£6.99, Chicken House)
Summary
Arianwyn has fluffed her witch’s evaluation test.
Awarded the dull bronze disc and continuing as an apprentice – to the glee of her arch-rival, mean girl Gimma – she’s sent to protect the remote, dreary town of Lull. 
But her new life is far from boring. Turns out Gimma is the pompous mayor’s favourite niece – and worse, she opens a magical rift in the nearby Great Wood. As Arianwyn struggles with her spells, a mysterious darkness begins to haunt her – and it’s soon clear there’s much more than her pride at stake …
To find out more about James Nicol:

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