By Russel D McLean
It's a strange feeling to see something you've worked on for so long finally take on physical form. Technically speaking, this is around the 8th time (counting various editions) that I've held a book of mine in my hands, and every time it feels oddly unreal. The same panic sets in, that there's something in those pages I overlooked or that I'll suddenly be found out as a fraud of some kind.
But at the same time, there's a magical moment. One where I realise what all the hard work was about. There's a moment where - and those who know me will know how rare this is - I actually get an ego trip.
Looking at the book, I remember when there was no book, just a gem of an idea. Something itching to find release. I remember when I thought I would never finish. The moments where I thought that maybe this time I'd truly messed up, that I'd never be able to create something coherent. But it happened. I know this not just because there's a book in my hand but because the guts of that book - the words, the pages - passed through so many others before this thing was created. It passed editors, copy editors, agents. It became something that talked to other people. Even in a small way.
Mothers of the Disappeared is, I hope, my best book yet. I sincerely hope so because it was a book I'd been wanting to write for a long time. The gem of the book was generated back when I was writing shorts about Sam Bryson for AHMM. I always wanted Bryson to try and prove the innocence of someone no one else would ever believe was not guilty. I wanted him to have to face his own prejudices in dealing with someone who appeared absolutely guilty and repellant. And with Mothers of the Disappeared, I took this idea and ran with it. The book became bigger than that, of course, and while that basic seed is still there, it has become a very different beast. But I'm proud of it. Very proud. As I am of all my books, even the ones I think have flaws.
The book is offically released in the UK on April 30. I'll be launching it at Blackfriars in Glasgow on the 28th (advance copies will be there for purchase!) at 7pm. I look forward to seeing people read the book, to talking to them about it, to being able to finally see the fourth McNee novel out there in the wild. It was - for many thematic reasons - a tough book to write. But I'm proud of it. And all I can hope is that you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.