Lockdown Fiction is a blog series, curated specially for our States 2021 festival. We’ve asked 4 authors to reflect on the experience of bringing out a book with an indie press in the middle of a pandemic.
We continue with Anne Goodwin, who has spent the lockdown preparing her latest novel with Inspired Quill for publication in May 2021.
I was disappointed when my publisher couldn’t fit my third novel into their 2020 schedule. When lockdown cancelled other authors’ launches, I thought I’d had a lucky escape. Although pandemic restrictions remain a year later, I’m glad Inspired Quill is publishing Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home on 29th May.
Unlike the bigger presses, Inspired Quill published all their planned titles last year. Despite financial pressures, they paid freelancers and author royalties promptly. Despite being stranded in Spain under strict lockdown, they’ve been attentive to others’ well-being. With only nineteen authors, Inspired Quill feels like a family.
Last spring, editing Matilda Windsor proved to be the perfect stay-at-home project. It was demanding enough to distract me from anxiety without overtaxing my locked-down creativity. Yet I was surprised to find echoes of the pandemic in a novel set in the 1930s and 1990s.
My work as a clinical psychologist in a long-stay psychiatric hospital inspired this story of a brother and sister separated for fifty years. An early reader called it a “fantastic novel, about a tough topic, which forces us to remember we are all vulnerable”. I’d hoped for additional endorsements from mental health professionals, but felt uncomfortable promoting fiction to people at the forefront of a healthcare crisis.
There’s a positive side to launching in a pandemic. While lockdown distances near neighbours, Zoom connects faraway friends. I hadn’t dreamt of appearing at international author events a year ago. Now I’ve done two: the first with an American writer for Buxton Festival Fringe; the second with an author in Aotearoa/NZ. So although I’ll miss signing books at an in-person publication party, I’m looking forward to celebrating with readers at home and abroad.
Don’t miss our LIVE festival event in which Inspired Quill editor Sara-Jayne Slack joins a panel of small presses to discuss Indie Publishing: Building the Comeback. Book FREE tickets for this event starting 10am on Sat. 24th April.