Six days until The Sea Garden is published in the United States, and the nerves are kicking in. It's always the same, each time a book is sent out into the big, wide world. Some readers will like it, some won't. Some who like it the most will stay the quietest, while those who didn't will be ferocious in letting others know.
Either way, the novel won't come to life until a reader starts reading the words on the page and joins in the creative process by allowing the sparks to reach the imagination, to form pictures and soundtrack in the mind. It won't be exactly what was in my mind when I wrote them, but that's the magic of reading: when we read, we make the scenes suggested by the words personal to ourselves. With any luck, the experience will take you to somewhere you never thought you'd go to, touch you emotionally or unsettle you in the delicious safety of your chair in a the sun.
All I can do is to give you some pointers to the background, like the picture above of the garden at the Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat, quite rightly considered one of the most beautiful hotels in the South of France, "a tranquil retreat amid secret gardens and fragrant pines". It's the blue, blue sea beyond that gives it that edge of excitement and cachet. The fictional Domaine de Fayols on the island of Porquerolles in the first section of the novel has just that quality, though hidden under dilapidation.
The light and the colour of the sea is captured in this picture. The turquoise seems unreal, but it isn't.
When night begins to fall, the setting sun still casts unexpected patches of brightness, while leaving secluded corners unexpectedly dark. If you want to take that as a metaphor for the mood of the book, please do.
Then there's the water, with its effortless evening glamour: shades of lilac and texture of chiffon.
The Sea Garden is on blog tour very soon with TLC Book Tours running through into July. And it's no good any writer telling you they don't care or even look to see what readers are making of their work; I wouldn't believe them if they did, because a book without a reader's reaction hasn't fully come into existence.