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Part 2 - Oh umm is now a good time to tell you...

My memory of the Covid lockdown is now a bit of a blur. I remember very clearly what happened, but the timeline of it all, well, not so much.

I know I signed a contract for my second book in late 2019, when the world was as we had always known it. I was heading into 2020 with a new book on the horizon and an overseas holiday to look forward to at Easter.

By early March both the overseas holiday and the book were put on hold, and we had no idea what was about to happen. Lockdowns came swiftly and seemed to have no end in sight: everyone was in iso and we were all just working things out and making sourdough bread and planting veggie gardens.

My writing space became my workspace - a whole different feel. By the time I was done with work I had neither the brain space or the enthusiasm to focus on anything creative. I did try - I thought I would use my blog to write an online story but that just didn't work out.

By the time Every Thing We Keep (EWK) was released the following year, in April 2021, my 'problem child' manuscript had basically been ignored for over a year. My focus was on the new release, going in and out of iso, and my son's final year of school.

I was going to turn my attention back to the manuscript when it became obvious that EWK had a couple of issues that needed to be addressed. By this time I had a new editor at Scholastic, and so there was a review and a decision to release a revised edition. So again - pushed to the side went the manuscript.

Let's skip to the beginning of 2022. Life was returning to semi normal. There were still rules about masks and hand sanitiser however my study at home was no longer my work office which was a relief. EWK was set to be rereleased mid-year and my son was off to uni in Melbourne. People were out and about and even though there was still a sense of caution, iso was going to be behind us from now on.

It was in this time of optimism, late in the summer, that I sent not one but two manuscripts to my publisher. Yes two - one I haven't mentioned because, well it was fabulous and was sure it was going to be next and well, why not send the problem child - it had come along way but wasn't really going to get much attention. Besides, I had decided to give up writing, again, so might as well get the whole rejection thing over and done with.

It didn't take long for the publisher to tell me that the perfect manuscript was not going to make it over the first hurdle. And as for the other one - crickets. Not even mentioned.

So there you have it - my problem child was not even going to get a mention let alone any feedback. That was it for me. I was done. I have two books on the shelf, and I was more than happy with that.

I turned my attention to relocating my son to Melbourne, and all that came with that change in our household. I did a spring clean of just about every room in the house and took on any other distraction I could to avoid missing him and not writing.

As it got closer to the rerelease of EWK, I tried to be enthusiastic, kept up a bit of social media stuff, but the overwhelming feeling I had was that I was done. I boxed up all my writing things from my desk and even contemplated deleting everything from my computer that had anything to do with writing.

Then this happened.

Everything We Keep was rereleased mid 2022. A box of ten new copies arrived on my doorstep and I sent a thankyou message to the publisher, Laura at Scholastic Au and this is what I wrote:

'It is nice that it has been redone. It is a nice way to end my writing life. Very proud to have two books published.'

Can you see it? Oh the sad defeat... nice and nice. Simple sentences reflected my state of mind.

It was Laura's response, that came very quickly, that snapped me out of it.

'Oh ummm, is now a good time to tell you we are loving Saving Charli?!'

And with that, the journey of Saving Charli had begun.


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