Magda, my own first novella, will be launched this week. The book is published by Salt on April 1st. My author’s website is up and running with a beautiful cinematic introduction by Pete Gloria. I will be interviewed on Woman’s Hour on Tuesday and on Friday we will celebrate with a launch party.
I am excited, I have to admit, and can’t wait to take Magda on the road. Indeed, last Wednesday was my first outing as a publisher and author. I talked about the art of novella, Peirene and Magda. And sold the first five copies of my own book.
But the most exciting news: the Nymph is thrilled too. Peirene has been a pillar of support. She insisted I book a hairdresser’s appointment for the party and has suggested that I take Wednesday off to look for a new dress.
After finding a publisher for Magda, I initially worried about Peirene’s reaction. Would she throw jealous tantrums? I even briefly contemplated using a pen name so I could hide my double life.
Well, I would have certainly deprived her of a lot of fun. Over the last few days, every now and again, she has stood up from her chair, waving her arms theatrically in the air and proclaiming: ‘Ladies & Gentlemen, please meet Madam and Mademoiselle ‘Novella’ – they publish novellas, they write novellas, they live and breath novellas.’
‘They?’ I raise an eyebrow.
‘Yes. You and I. We. After all, we are in it together.’ She smiles at me and throws me a hand kiss.
She is right. I owe a debt to my Nymph and her authors. Veronique Olmi for her courageous portrayal of a mother-child relationship. Friedrich Christian Delius for handling the familiar subject of Nazism with empathy and from a new angle; and any number of Peirene authors for teaching me the power of compression and strong voices.
‘By the way, I hope you also show your gratitude to your publisher.’ The Nymph has sat down again and now looks at me with a serious expression. ‘They’ve done a brilliant job with it and rolled out some stellar PR.’
‘I do hope I have. After all I know what it feels like to be a publisher who tries her best.’
‘Good. I am pleased to hear that.’ Then she smiles slyly, ‘Because, let’s face it: Without Salt, Magda would have vanished, like your other three novellas, into the bottom drawer of your clothes cupboard.’
Image: Vermeer’s ‘Mistress and Maid’ by Mike-Licht-NotionsCapital.com.