“Never read your reviews”

“Never read your reviews,” Joanna Trollope told me when she found out at the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature that my debut novel was out that day. She touched my arm and leaned toward me as she said it, making me feel like she really cared about this and that it was an important thing I must never do, like walking across the train tracks or hitch-hiking with strangers.

“You’ve achieved a goal, which is to be published,” Graeme-The-Rosie-Project-Simsion told me, as he bought the first ever copy of Coming Home that I’d ever signed. “Everything else is just gravy.”

Good advice I’m sure. And maybe one day I’ll heed it.

But for now I’m new to all this and I just can’t help going online now and then (usually late in the evening, which is a terrible idea) and typing “Annabel=Kantaria+Coming=Home” into the Google search box. It’s as if I have no control over my fingers.

I’m pleased to report, though, that early critics have been kind. My novel is scoring an average of 4.2 stars out of 5 on GoodReads, which means I do get to sleep at night and, over on NetGalley, people have left some lovely comments.

I suppose I should probably add that it’s not even published in the UK yet. But, for the moment, I’m enjoying the, um, gravy.