When writing my book, I had several scenarios about where I would be when I got the call or the email to say a major publishing house wanted to publish my book. My sister, Paula, lives about 300 miles away and as she was a major part of me being able to employ an editor, my scenarios always involved her.
We’d be in her kitchen chatting away with my mum there too and Alex, my son, would be happily playing on the computer in the living room. Paula’s house was over 100 years old and I fell in love with the doorbell of all things, because it was the original. Ringing it made me imagine myself in an Emily Brontë novel; I’d be adorned in traditional bonnet, never ending petticoats and crinoline, whilst trying to breath in my corset.
I loved Paula’s cottage with its open fire and beams. The kitchen was large so our base was there and we’d sit at the table playing card games with Alex and drinking a compulsory glass of vino.
My phone would ring and it would be my editor, Kate. The conversation would always start with ‘Ruth, are you sitting down?’ Mum and Paula would be looking at me as if I’d just found out the meaning of life and I’d be pacing the room, looking overwhelmed with a few tears in my eyes and, for once, speechless.
After I’d been told I was getting a £50,000 advance, mum, Paula and I would drink even more wine and spend the evening talking about the next book, how I could give up work and spend time writing my second book and concentrating on promoting the message in the book – PND is an illness, you can admit to it, you’re not a bad mum if you have it and you will get better.
The reality, of course, was so different. Why wouldn’t it be?! I was at work. We’re not allowed our phones on view so I don’t know how mine managed to escape from my bag and crawl its way up and sit beside my keyboard. The phone rang and it was ‘Kate Editor’.
‘Ruth, great news! I’ve got you a publisher!’ Thereafter followed a lot of pacing the small little turret I called my office and lots of ‘Oh My God, Oh My God’. All that hard work and self belief had paid off. I would remind myself to never give up on my goal and I’m so glad I didn’t. What excited me most was the thought of famous people being able to access my book and read all about Sarah. My mind then went into overdrive and wondered who would play Sarah. Who indeed?!
Being Sarah Chilton by Ruth Briddon is out now.