My second novel, The Secrets We Left Behind was published last week. Hoorah! 

I kicked off publication day with a visit to the dentist (I know how to live the glamorous life, me) then I popped into the local shop for some washing-up liquid and a packet of biscuits. You see, I remember my last Publication Day. There had been a long build-up and I felt a tremendous sense of anticipation, and when the day finally dawned, I suppose I expected some sort of life-changing moment. But the reality of Publication Day for the vast majority of first-time authors is simply that one minute, your book isn’t in the shops, and then the next minute – um, your book isn’t in the shops!

I was pretty naive last time and I’d gone dashing around expecting to see my shiny new novel on lots of shelves. In fact, I only found The Things We Never Said in Tesco, where it was on a special promotion. It soon appeared my local Waterstones, though, and in more and more branches over the next few months, and I’ve been extremely fortunate in that it’s ended up selling very well indeed. But although my first publication day felt very special in some ways – flowers from my publishers, a congratulations card from my agent and lots of lovely messages from fellow authors, it certainly wasn’t what I’d imagined before I was published.

So this time, I was prepared. I would simply enjoy the celebratory nature of the day, eat some cake and maybe have a glass of fizz. And what lovely day it turned out to be! I was overwhelmed by the sheer warmth and number of congratulatory messages from my Twitter and Facebook friends, I received a gorgeous bouquet of flowers from Simon & Schuster, 

and when, despite my best intentions, I couldn’t resist nipping into town to have a nosy around the bookshelves, I’m thrilled to report that I found it in Waterstones, Tesco’s, and WH Smith! So I had another glass of champagne.

During my Read Regional library events, readers have been asking whether the second book was easier to write than the first. I didn’t find it easier, I’m afraid, although I do feel I learned a lot first time round. With the second book, I was much more aware of the process of storytelling; I feel I’ve learned more about how to reveal some things gradually and keep others back in order to increase the tension. I wrote The Secrets We Left Behind in 18 months – much faster than The Things We Never Said. I had a deadline to meet, so I had to make decisions more quickly and stick to them rather than allowing myself the luxury of trying out different things to see if they worked. Overall, I’d say writing the second novel was a different experience, rather than an easier one.

One of the messages I received wished me a ‘Happy Book Birthday’ and talked about my second novel being ‘born’. I suppose writing a novel is a bit like having a baby – you plan it for years but it’s only finally born after a long gestation period and an incredibly difficult and painful period of labour. Then, for some strange reason we forget how hard the whole thing is and we do it all over again!  And I’m reflecting on this now as I struggle with my third novel….

*If you’re in or near to Sheffield on 21st of May, do join me for a glass of wine to celebrate the launch of The Secrets We Left Behind. The event starts at 6.30 at Waterstones, Orchard Square, Sheffield S1

8 thoughts on “

  1. Mitzi says:

    I had been very good since Christmas, really limiting myself on the number of books I bought until I had worked my way through my huge pile of yet to be read. It was going swimmingly until I spotted 'The Secrets We Left Behind'. I so enjoyed 'The Things We Never Said' and have eagerly been awaiting the publication of your second novel so you can imagine the delight, it immediately went in the basket and is now patiently sitting on the bookshelf until I have finished my current read and then I'm afraid it will be blow the que sitting on the shelf there is a bank holiday coming up and the weather is due to be good so I have made myself an appointment with the garden chair, tea and biscuits to hand and what I am sure is going to be one very good book by the name of 'The secrets we left behind' no less.

    Congratulations Susan hope all goes well tomorrow at Waterstones.

  2. Susan Elliot Wright says:

    What a lovely comment, Mitzi! Thank you so much! I'm thrilled that you enjoyed The Things We Never Said, and I really hope you like The Secrets We Left Behind. You make the garden chair with tea and biscuits sound very attractive! The novel starts in winter, but flashes back to the hot summer of 76, so I hope it'll make a good summer read.
    Thanks for your good wishes re-the launch tomorrow.

  3. Mitzi says:

    Hi Susan

    Hope all went well on Wednesday. I completed the first chapter this morning on the bus into work and I am already gripped and intrigued so well done I'm sure it's going to be just as good if not better than The Things We Never Said.

  4. Mitzi says:

    Hi Susan,

    Glad all went well at the launch. Having started The Secrets left behind on Friday morning and with the intention of having a jolly good read over the weekend especially as the weather forecast was rain, rain and more rain, I just had to leave you another comment to tell you that I was so gripped with your new book that I haven't been able to put it down. I thought I had guessed the twist and therefore had to keep reading to find out if I was right and I have therefore completed reading it at 12:10am this morning. It's absolutely brilliant and I'm sure it's going to do well for you.

  5. Susan Elliot Wright says:

    Oh Mitzi, thank you! it's a really lovely to hear this – I'm so pleased you enjoyed it! I've been quite nervous about this one because people loved the first one so much, but I'm beginning to get a few lovely comments & reviews coming through now, so I'm starting to feel much happier! Thank you so much for taking the time to post this comment – it's really appreciated.

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