Well, while my Mum was staying recently she said one afternoon, "I've still got that manuscript you gave me to read. Such a shame it didn't come to anything."
WHAT?? For some reason I thought she'd thrown it away, an assumption she was quite rightly offended about. "I'd never do that," she said touchingly.
Anyway, I asked her (nicely) to send it to me and it turned up today almost as good as new.
A couple of things struck me reading bits of it. Firstly, the optimum amount of time between finishing your novel and editing it should be roughly 5 years. It really was like reading something written by someone else.
Secondly, it wasn't that bad. Nowhere near as awful as I'd imagined it would be. I could kind of see why there'd been some interest, looking back. There's a cheery simplicity to the writing, that keeps it flowing. I hadn't overthought the story - I didn't even edit it, I was that naive.
I knew what it was going to be about and I wrote it in about three months. It dealt with things that were close to my heart at the time - email dating (don't ask) volunteer work and photography - so I didn't have to try too hard with the research. Well they do say your first novel is the closest to being autobiographical, though I'm sure plenty of authors would dispute that. This one for instance. I hope!
We'll gloss over the fact that I committed the cardinal sin of designing (yes designing, on the computer) a cover page for my novel, with plenty of pink, and a whimsical clip-art female sitting under a tree, which I submitted along with the manuscript. Beyond embarrassing.
But still ... I wish, wish, WISH I could recapture whatever it was I was doing right then, because it occurred to me as I was flipping through it that I can either do it again, because I did it once, OR - I had one book in me, that was it and the moment has well and truly passed.
I do hope it's not the latter.