…is how one’s friends react. Because basically they don’t know how to.
They’re caught in this vice of what to do: read your book, and then what? What are they to do if they hate it? What will they say? How will they face you? How will they feel comfortable with you again? What if you write lots of lurid sex and then they have to deal with head-pictures of you in flagrante delicto?
What if it’s complete rubbish? How do they say, “You write utter tosh!” and still ride the Downs as happily with you as before (or whatever it was you did together).
I’m just guessing at this point…but it’s there. The excitement that greeted my earlier announcement about publication has turned to wariness. They don’t want to be put on the spot. So it’s easier to feign lack of time or good intentions…
So, if any of you are out there reading this, trying to make up your minds about whether to purchase my book or not, let me just say: there’s lots of lurid sex (no, there’s not), you’re all in it (no, you’re not), it contains lots of scenes of shopping and pages and pages of discussions about shoes (no, it doesn’t)…
Ha ha ha.
It does contain: some violence, a death or two, a great many rude words (circa 1812 rude words, which are frequently different from our rude words), a lot of factual history which I hope I’ve slid in so quietly that you don’t notice, some appealing characters, an old trout or two, some very stupid people, and the occasional flash of humanity and humour.
And if you hate it, I won’t be hurt. Obviously, I’ll never speak to you again. But I won’t be hurt.