Argh. I’m wincing with shame at the realisation that it’s a month since The Girl You Left Behind hit the shelves. A whole month in which I’ve singularly failed to update the website, blog, or write anything about the book itself. But the last few months has involved criss-crossing the country like a join-the-dots puzzle, doing events and literary festivals – and the worst of it is that I’ve been going at such speed that so many amazing experiences have become a blur of memory, rather than the whole essays that they probably deserved.
The best of this has been getting to meet and spend time with some extraordinary people. Seeing as 98% of my life comprises sitting in a back room wearing a onesie and talking to the dog, I am going to detail a little of it (please ready your ears for the clanging sound of names dropping).
Some highlights: giving a talk at Henley Literary Festival with Emma Freud (even though she nearly got me arrested on a night that involved curry, cycling a towpath without lights, and alleged ghost sightings); being interviewed at Wimbledon Festival by one of my journalistic heroines, Penny Vincenzi, and taking part in Damian Barr’s Literary Salon at Cheltenham Festival with one of my literary heroes, Michael Chabon (The best of it being that unlike the last time I met one of my literary idols, Chabon was utterly charming and didn’t stare pointedly over my shoulder). At Cheltenham I had the joy of looking up from the hotel reception desk to find I was checking in beside Roger Moore. For just a moment I was, I’m ashamed to say, deeply tempted to sign myself in as May Day.
I got to see two comedic heroes – Sarah Millican and Joan Rivers – live (Rivers was impressively offensive for a 79-year-old – I spent half her show with my hand clamped over my mouth), got to talk film with Richard Curtis, and, perhaps more surreally, discuss literary terminology for penises at the Isle of WIght Literary Festival with Anneka Rice. I also gave a talk via Skype to a classroom full of girls, gave another in aid of the wonderful Royal Neurological Hospital, and one from the nave of a church (the temptation to bless someone was almost overwhelming).
All of which is my slightly haphazard way of apologising for not telling you a bit more about the new book, The Girl You Left Behind.
It’s an epic saga, based around the portrait of an artist’s wife, and the two women at each end of the century whose lives and loves are affected by it. It went into the Sunday Times bestseller list at Number 8, so a huge thank you to all those who bought it. I’ll try to link to some of the reviews this week.
Meanwhile, Me Before You continues its astonishing run in new countries, most recently with a spell in the Icelandic bestsellers list. I’m now gearing up for the book tour that accompanies its launch in the US after Christmas. Thanks to everyone who bought it – and all those who’ve contacted me about it. I try to respond to everyone, but if I’ve missed you – please do message me again.