Just a few days before my Dad died in March, one of my closest friends was diagnosed with cancer. Not long after I returned from Canberra, we learned that her cancer was an aggressive one, with a tumour pressing against her windpipe. She wasn’t well enough to come for the book launch, but the last time I spoke to her was when she phoned, although she had little breath to talk, to tell me how much she’d enjoyed reading Dead Heat. She died on April 13th; her funeral on Friday drew hundreds of people, a testament to her gentle, generous nature and the love and respect so many people in our town held for her. We have been friends for 18 years; she designed our house, we travelled on numerous outback trips with her and her husband; Gordon bushwalked with them hundreds of times, often finishing here for afternoon tea, where she and I discussed textiles, teas, books, gardens, living simply. I will miss her a great deal.
As you can imagine, losing my Dad and my friend within six weeks at the same time as Dead Heat was released has been something of an emotional roller-coaster for me. I’m trying to concentrate on the highs – and there’s definitely been some! Some great views, lovely comments from readers, and appearing for 3 weeks in a row in my publisher’s Top 10 books – for a short while there (probably due to being in the Big W Book Bonanza catalogue!) Dead Heat was outselling Stephen King, John Grisham and JR Ward 🙂 It won’t make it on to the Australian Top 10 charts (that Suzanne Collins is claiming most of the places!!) but it’s a good feeling to be doing well for my publishers, anyway.
Thank you to everyone who has commented recently, emailed me, commented on Facebook or Twitter. If I haven’t replied to everyone, please know that in this difficult time your positive words and feedback about Dead Heat have been uplifting and have mattered to me. I hope to catch up and get back to everyone this coming week.