In less than a sennight, May 1812 will be launched.
And it is as though every fear and every concern I have ever had about the book have come hurtling back at me tenfold.
Will people like it? Is Myddelton a strong enough character to carry the book for men? For women? Is it too violent? Not violent enough? Too soppy? Too steeped in history and therefore inaccessible for a normal person? Does it read too slowly? Is it too academic and not action packed enough? Is the love story too prominent?
And more haunting still: Will it change the way my friends regard me once they’ve read it or found it too [fill in the blank] to continue with? And then, they won’t know what to say and it will all be horrible, and then the quiet and mundane life I love, the life which is one of easy camaraderie, devoid of any kind of judgementalism, will be gone. And I won’t be able to get it back.
And then there’s the matter of the launch of the thing. About which, I confess I feel little but unalloyed panic and trepidation.
I did plan to spend the week taking on seriously high jumps (on horseback, this is) in the hope of falling and breaking something (just about anything would do) and therefore having an iron-clad excuse for not appearing. This, however, has been vetoed at so many levels.
I haven’t yet worked out how I’ll cope. I daresay I will. One does. The dog will help. The horses will shoulder me and remind me of my place in the scheme of things (provider of carrots, good with a dandy brush).