I got The Call on Friday.
My agent said, 'Can you speak? I have news.'
She told me she'd received an offer from Chicken House and I didn't take in very much after that. She sounded pretty excited - there were words like 'contract' and 'foreign rights' and 'your editor', but I'd already gone a bit spacey on adrenaline and only heard them as a stream of words. Over the top of my agent's voice, I was thinking 'You're a writer...an actual writer...this is what you do now...you can tell people and everything...'
I was having lunch with a group of writer friends that day, and one of them arrived to pick me up just as I was finishing the call, so there were people I could tell straight away. Which was nice...but still so weird after all this time. I felt as if I was acting and reading from a script I'd spent years working on. My friend gently reminded me to call my husband. Of course he was always the first person I told whenever I'd imagined this happening, but when the time came my head was so fuzzy it didn't immediately occur to me. And he couldn't take the call, so I texted him, 'Am on way to Amanda's. Have got book deal. Am author.' Then I sat in the passenger seat, re-reading the text message and giggling at how weird it sounded.
After that, I found I couldn't eat any lunch, so I sat there, holding my head on, and listening to one of my friends read a chunk of her new book for our approval, before complaining about how long it took for her German rights money to come through. Another friend showed us eight different (all beautiful) covers her publishers had sent for her to choose from (we all picked a different one). Then it was suggested that I was taken home...because of the way I was holding my head, I think.
I was quite poorly from then on. And I honestly thought it was in reaction to that phone call - and all the accompanying adrenaline. I felt like the biggest wuss alive!
Until the following day, when it became clear I'd picked up a bug of some sort - hurrah! Not only am I not the biggest wuss alive (although still a strong contender probably) it also explained the fuzzy head and lack of appetite.
So I spent the weekend in bed, sort of waiting for something to happen. Although it felt like someone was sticking screwdrivers into my head, I forced myself to sit up so I could update my Twitter profile to include the description 'writer' - which was a long-awaited moment. And several tweeters said nice things - which was great for distracting me from the screwdriver-pain.
But I still felt as if I was waiting for something to happen...although I'm not sure what...it just feels as if something awesome might happen at any moment now. I keep checking my phone and my email for messages - no idea who from - or what I should be doing with myself exactly.
Trouble is, I've gone so deep into waiting mode over the past few years, I can't switch it off - even now that the waiting is finally over and I can relax.