Dorothy Says

10 years on the shelves


I was living in South London at the time and went up to central London to be interviewed by a reporter from The Voice newspaper at Borders in Oxford Street. I didn’t know how I’d feel when I saw a book on with my name on it. Excited, proud, a little shocked. I’d spent so long wanting to be published that the moment of it actually happening was a little overwhelming. I do remember wondering if that feeling would ever get tired and it hasn’t. It really hasn’t. As a side note, I was really sad when Borders closed. I always feel a real sense of grief when a bookshop closes but that was an additional sadness because it was where I saw The Cupid Effect on sale for the very first time.

At the time of writing, I’m working on novel number 9. It’s still in the ‘anything could happen’ stages and the characters are still doing their best to change with every word I write. If I’m honest, this is the stage where I am all over the place with the book. On the one hand I’m wondering if it’s such a good idea to be writing this story at this particular time, and on the other hand I love the challenge, the not knowing what is coming next and the getting-to-know-the-people-whose-stories-I’m-telling process. It’s never a simple case of sitting down and churning out the story. I have to live it as much as possible, and I feel very honoured to be able to do that.

The main character in the book I’m writing is very different to Ceri D’Altroy from The Cupid Effect. I think that’s in part because of how I’ve changed as a person. I’ve grown and altered, life and experience have imprinted themselves onto me and that has been passed into my writing. That’s not to say that I don’t love The Cupid Effect – it’s actually probably my favourite novel (don’t tell the others, that though) but if I were to write The Cupid Effect today it would in no way be the same novel. Which begs the question: would I ever rewrite it given the chance? The answer is: Absolutely not.

My first published book is perfect as it is, it is a testament to who I was back in 2002 (when I wrote it) and 2003 (when it was published). It’s a reminder of how I thought and how I felt about life back then. Rewriting The Cupid Effect, changing the story to fit in with my later work, would be like trying to rewrite the story of who I am and despite all the bits of my life that haven’t been ideal, I would never do that. I am who I am, and if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be able to write the books that I have.

I am who I am, and who I am is someone who has the best job in the world – and who was able to share the fruits of that job with everyone ten years ago today.