Last week, I wrote the acknowledgements of my debut novel (Still can’t quite believe I get to say that!). And with so many people to thank, I wanted to share all my gratitude here as well as at the back of the book, because everybody should know how awesome everyone who helped me is!
I first started [Full Term] on the 22nd of May 2016. By the time it finally goes into print (30th March 2021), it will be just under two months shy of being five years old, from first word to publication. So much has happened in that time, and so many people have helped that I’m both thrilled and terrified that now, at this very last hurdle, I’m going to forget to thank someone. Just in case, I ask forgiveness in advance if you feel your name should be below, but you find it missing. Please know this was not intentional. There’s a saying about it taking a village to raise a child, and I feel like it’s taken an entire online community to bring forth this book.
But enough preamble. Let me first start with my editor, the wonderful and ever patient Bridget Wilde. I know it’s cliché, but I honestly could not have gotten this book into print without her. This book is very literally a different book than the one I handed to her, but it’s so much better for all the rewrites. Be, honestly, thank you so much!
Next, I must thank Be’s partner in crime, Anna Sheehan, who not only beta-read considerable parts of this book (and a few of its previous iterations), but contributed a large portion of the IndieGoGo funding, and provided the lovely quote for the cover as well. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve you, but if I ever find out, I’ll let you know!
I have spent countless nights being encouraged by both Bridget and Anna––often both at the same time––throughout this long process. Thank you both for listening to all my 5am meltdowns.
Going back over ten years to my university days, I want to thank my original critique partner, Mickey Luke Mitchell. I also want to apologise for the things I made you read back then, when I was very much still finding my feet.
Similarly, the dear Liz Griffin who read a lot of my old work, before I quite got the grip on grammar and punctuation I have now. Thank you, and sorry for all the typos I brought into your life.
Speaking of typos, my good friend Jodie Eve, in her innocence, used to get me to beta-read her work. Many, many hours were spent moving around commas that I’m still not quite sure are entirely right, but you believed I knew what I was doing and for that I am so grateful.
I’m proud to have also been buoyed by support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast Writers’ Group, Women Aloud NI, SCBWI (both British Isles and Irish chapters), countless Elysian Fields members (you know who you are!), my lone Patreon patron Seanín Hughes, beta readers Tina ‘Mini’ Scott and Vee Caswell (who both also contributed to my crowdfunding campaign), critique partner Lesley Walsh, life partner and perpetual lemon toasty of the month (don’t ask!) my wonderful husband Steve Herron, and writing mentors Felicity McCall and Jo Zebedee.
My darling Stephanie Hibbert did an excellent sensitivity read of this novel for me (i.e. answered all of my ignorant white people questions), and I got expert advice from Cathy Carson, Alicia Rana, and Dr Joanne Holland DVM MD about safeguarding, nursing, social work protocols, and midwifery respectively. Any errors that may have slipped in regarding any of these topics are my own doing, not theirs.
Shout out to Wendy L. Bonifazi RN CLS APR, who kindly proofread this novel for me, and of course the rest of my awesome IndieGoGo Backers: Debi Lamm, Cat Pothier, Liz Weir, Byddi Lee, Shirley-Anne McMillan, Beth Armstrong, Karen Mooney, Mark Davidson, Ryan Miller, Marianne Simpson, Cathy Reilly, Kay Adlington, Elizabeth McGeown, Emma King*, Lynda Collins, Anthony Calamis, Wilma Kenny, Kelly Creighton, and my cousin (and fellow author) Kim Graham.
The puddle/ocean advice that Lynne gives Mya in chapter five, I picked up from Tumblr many years ago and have never forgotten (though sadly I haven’t the faintest idea who shared it originally––told you I’d forget someone!).
Just thank you, thank you, thank you all so very much!
*Since I wrote this and sent the book to print, Emma King earned herself another shout out for donating hours of her time to helping me with a fiddly photoshop task to do with the paperback cover. Even at this stage, I’m finding it staggering how much people are willing to give to make sure this book succeeds.
*UPDATE* I just realised I have been completely remiss in thanking my super wonderful, completely excellent web developer Will Hall! Will, I am so sorry. If/when I make a second edition of the book, your name will be included properly. You are awesome!
Full Term is available for pre-order here.