Friday 13th. Not always a date that is appreciated by everyone but this particular Friday 13th is one I’ll remember for a while. Today is my last day as a bookseller. That’s right, I’m giving up the day job! As of next week I am officially a full-time writer, a job description that fills me with trepidation, but also excitement given that I have two more books in the pipeline. This is what most writers dream of, isn’t it? Fingers crossed that Friday 13th is a lucky day for me.
Working in the English Bookshop in Bern has been a wonderful experience for me, and not just because I was able to speak English half of my working life. As a newcomer to Switzerland it was great to find any job at all, let alone one that I enjoyed and could do. And one that helped me realise that there was a book missing on the shelves – the book I ended up writing.
Once Swiss Watching was published last June, it has been quite a treat to be able to sell my own book to (often unwitting) customers. How many other authors get that chance? It’s led to people coming into the shop to ask for a signature or to say hello, and more than a few good contacts for me. Sadly, I’ve also been shouted at and abused by a teeny tiny minority; being easy to find sometimes has its drawbacks.
Now it’s time to move on. No sitting back and taking it easy. The German translation of Swiss Watching is coming in Spring 2012, so I’m off to Munich soon to meet the editors at Piper Malik Verlag, who have the difficult task of translating English humour into German text. I’m glad that I’m not the one having to do the actual work; I can just get very excited about the book coming out in a version that 65% of the Swiss population will be able to read – as well as all those Germans and Austrians, and a few thousand Liechtensteiners.
Then I’m off to California for a break; ok, so maybe a little time to sit back and take it easy! Although I do have one unexpected pleasure in Los Angeles. Thanks to the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce, on June 23rd I’ll be speaking about all things Swiss at a dinner in the Beverly Hills Hotel. How fab is that! If you’re reading this in LA, then maybe I’ll see you there?
And come August, the new day job starts in earnest. Sitting down every day to research and write a new book. My deadline is already only 232 days away and by August it will be even closer, but having a signed contract is the biggest impetus any writer needs. I can’t say much at the moment, but can tell you the next book will be very different from this one, though also about Switzerland. A treasure-trove of Swissness that will be published next year. As for Book Three, well that’s also underway as it’s a longer term project. Plenty to keep me busy now that I’m off the shop floor.
So thank you Stauffacher English Bookshop and all its customers; what a great five years it has been. Now I’m on my own. Brave? Thrilling? Premature? Foolish? Daunting? I’m not sure how I really feel about my decision. One thing’s certain: there’s no chance of my life being boring in the immediate future. And I’ll keep you posted.