Life is full of big decisions.
Like - should I change jobs? Or move house? Or town? Or what beer to have next?
But for a writer, few decisions are bigger than choosing a reading from their new book.
The Justice Mirror is out next month, I'm lucky enough to have been invited to give a few talks about it, so this week I've been agonising over which part to read.
Something from the middle, full of action? Towards the end, to hint at the drama of the denouement? An exchange of dialogue, to demonstrate the richness and appeal of the characters?
No. For once in my life, I've decided to be straightforward and read from the beginning.
And so, with all due fanfare, red carpet, 21 gun salute, flyby from the Red Arrows etc etc...
I proudly present the opening words of my new novel -
Reading aloud from your book is always one of the most nervous moments of a talk.
You've spent all these months crafting the thing. Been through the edits and rewrites. So much work and heart has gone into it...
So how will the audience react?
I'm getting quite sweaty thinking about it. And that's more than a month before I do the first actual reading.
So kindly bear that in mind if you come to a talk (and please do, it would be splendid not to be alone in the room.)
Wild screaming and booming applause are not entirely necessary (unless you insist), but some show of appreciation would be reassuring.
Because - as with so much of life, there might be calm and composure on the surface.