My novel, Le Glitch – a story about a desolate French village suddenly inundated with British tourists – has been out seven months now. So what have I learned?
Not a lot to be honest. Writing a second novel is harder than the first. And getting people to read it is even harder. Especially friends.
The same friends, I might add, who pushed me to write it in the first place, and kept on encouraging me when I was down. And yet when I ask them if they’ve read it, they squirm and wriggle beneath their thick-knit sweaters they’ve been hiding under since Lockdown.
‘I’ve been busy,’ one of my friends declared the other day during a Zoom chat.
‘Really?’ I said, ‘I thought you were bored.’
‘Ahh,’ he replied sheepishly. ‘My Kindle is broken.’
‘I sent you a paperback.’
That stumped him. Panic spread across his face as his cheap webcam kept going in and out of focus. My old friend desperately searching for another weak excuse as to why he hadn’t read my book.
‘Yeh… Well you see Phil…It’s my eyes…I’m having problems and because the opticians have been shut, I haven’t been able to see very well – so I kinda thought I’d hang back on your book until my eyes were in tip-top condition.’
He sounded like Boris Johnson. So I told him I didn’t believe him. ‘You’ve never worn glasses,’ I reminded him. ‘Ever since I’ve known you – which is far too long I realise now – you’ve always made a play of how good your eyesight is.’
Then he started getting even more blurred on my monitor.
‘I’m going to have to go,’ he cried out ignoring my questioning. ‘I think I’m losing you. Internet here is terrible.’
Again I didn’t believe him. He was using the same trick I pulled with my parents a few days ago. Making the screen go blurry by using the contrast and brightness function in an attempt to make them go away.
‘I’ll phone you then,’ I countered, picking up my phone so he could see it.
I started dialling.
‘OK, OK,’ he spluttered. ‘I haven’t read it because I was worried that if I didn’t like it or thought it was rubbish, I would have to say so because I’m a terrible liar.’
That I believed.
‘You don’t have to lie,’ I offered. ‘Just give me some honest feedback, that’s all I’m asking. Then I’ll be able to do a better job next time. I know it’s not what you normally read, but you never know, you might even like it.’
‘What’s it about again?’
I glared at him through my equally cheap €9 webcam. ‘I told you ages ago: It’s a comedy about a desolate French village and faulty satnavs. Hence the name of the book – Le Glitch.’
‘I remember now.’
‘So will you read it?’ I urged.
‘Yes. I promise.’
‘Good. And if you’ve lost that paperback edition I sent you at great cost, you could always download a free Kindle copy. I’ve a special offer running from today until Tuesday morning. Your Kindle might start miraculously working again…?’
My friend said he would certainly have another go, thanked me drily, and we said goodbye.
The Kindle edition of Le Glitch is free until Tuesday 7th July 2020 9 a.m. CET. Click the cover below for more details.