Today is publication day of my new book on the British poets of the First World War, The Red Sweet Wine of Youth and I am writing this on a train to Liverpool where Radio Merseyside is to have the privilege of being the first to talk to me about it. This is my fourteenth (or twelfth, depending on how you categorise a couple of publications that are hardly book-length) since my first book was published in 1993 and maybe it's time to pause for breath...well, until after the weekend at any rate.
Like most of my fellow-writers of more-or-less-serious books the struggle to survive gets harder. Reading The Author, the journal of the Society of Authors, is a sort of mediaeval penance, a glum self-scourging, and most writers I know are ducking and diving, teaching and preaching, hustling for some tossed coin of fugitive income. Delightful reviews, the positive responses of one's friends, even the fleeting sight of one of one's books in a branch of Waterstone's, never seem to make any inroads into penury.
But it's fun to write, or we wouldn't be doing it, and the spectacle of writers bleating is never an edifying one.
News that a reprint of TRSWOY (as the emails now have it) of 2000 hardback copies, was ordered even before publication day is heartening. I hope you enjoy it.
Update: a review from the Financial Times of 12 February 2011