So it is down to the wire. Emails end in 'ASAP' and there is discussion of being in the 'chrome' phase. I think this is when the cover and back cover are set and cannot be undone? A last minute wonderful quote from Sharon Kay Penman arrived and my editor 'yanked' the book off the press to include it.
So far this has been a magical process for me. Magical in that is is surreal, happy and seemingly turning the impossible into the possible. I feel like my book has gone like a handkerchief into a top hat and is returning to me a fluffy white rabbit. Also magical in that I have no idea how it works. I have a sense of an enormous hive of talented, experienced people working at a ferocious pace. This book is being released on February 1, 2011 and there is so much work involved between then and now that everyone is racing--today--on a Wednesday in July.
It is strange that words I wrote utterly alone at a white desk covered in birthday cards, photos, books, postcards and my Nell portrait, are going out to meet this enormous fray. Definitely magic. It is also strange that there is a stop date. There is a point when tinkering must stop, hats are chosen, words are fixed, and chapters have chosen their dresses for the ball. The subtly shifting elements are no longer mine to move around, recast and repaint. A scarlet slipper shunted beneath a gilt chair is just going to have to stay there. It will never grow up to be a grey laced boot left out in a garden.
Somehow I never saw that day coming. But that day seems to be today. The book is really truly done.