So on Friday I finally signed off on the book artwork, Matt, the in-house art guy at Random House had come up with three remarkable covers all of which satisfied the ‘contemporary noir’ brief Dan (my Ed) and I had given him. I posted all three on Facebook and invited people to vote on them, but I think my heart knew that we’d go with number two (see below, how could you not?). I was pleased that most of the people that knew me well thought so too. Plus, Rush’s Neil Peart and Manic Street Preachers’ Nicky Wire also agreed, what more can any man of a certain age ask? I digress, this is nothing new, even though the afternoon was one of life’s genuine highs, it got slightly better when Matt printed out said cover onto card and then cut and folded it so it actually looked and stood up like a book might. I can see it from where I’m sitting right now and out of the corner of my eye it looks like the months leading up to hardback publication date (May 2010) have suddenly dissipated and I’ve suffered the slings and arrows of reviewer’s indignity and now have a boxful of books that no-one wants. But at least they’re my books that no-one wants.
I waved Matt farewell, he’s off to Borneo to go diving, he’s quite the grown up, and went down to the Jonathan Cape floor and an empty office. Random House have something called Summer Hours, which means that they get to drift quietly away on a Friday afternoon and in the case of my editor head to the country. Which part he never made clear. Tom, his assistant, was in situ though, he’s doing the copy proof of the novel (he mailed me this morning to say he’d finished and then he said some very lovely things about the book that I won’t repeat here as I’ll only start blushing) and as he’s one of life’s gents, he made me a coffee and then let me rummage through the shelves. I was like a literary child let loose in Borders at Christmas. If I’d had a bigger bag I think I could have done real damage to Jonathan Cape’s profit margins for the year ahead. Instead, I took just enough books to pop my shoulder out on the tube home and give me a dead arm. I’ve only read American Adulterer and The Quickening Maze so far, but both have much to recommend them even if they are both British authors and therefore my competition (in my head it’s a school sports day and I always want to win). Anyway, I’ve filled my karmic quota for the year, I expect to be rewarded tenfold, no pressure. Enjoy Matt’s handiwork, I did.