Well, what a month! I have already been In Heat and Knocked Up and it’s only 14th. I was on my way home from Helen’s house last Wednesday, and when I pulled up outside the house, there was my friend Fiona lurking in the hall looking very clandestine while her husband Peter loitered with intent in his car and her daughter Megan, aged nine, leapt around me taking photos.
ANYWAY, there she was, in my hall, skulking. ‘Get something warm on,’ she said to me, clipping one of those glow-in-the-dark necklace thingys round my neck. ‘Um – am I going somewhere?’ I asked, while I was shoved into my ski gear. ‘No questions,’ she snapped. I felt like an extra in a Bond movie. Once I was wrapped up warmer than an Eskimo in a blizzard, I was bundled into the back of the car, and Peter drove us off into the night, directed by an occasional curt ‘Left here,’ or ‘Straight on’ from Fiona. Finally he pulled up on a lonely stretch of road, and we were ejected into the night, half-way up the Knock, which for those of you who don’t know is a hill in Crieff. From the top of it you can see right across to Ben Vorlich and the Ochil hills. Of course you couldn’t on this occasion, as it was pitch black and we weren’t at the top. BUT – wait! It wasn’t pitch black. It should have been, but there, twinkling away in the darkness, was a light. And then another, a bit further up the hill. And another. And another. Someone had set out little tea lights, burning away inside jam jars, and used them to outline a path through the trees.
So we set off along the path, climbing steeply, and I had no puff for any questions but just kept following all these little tea lights, higher and higher up the Knock, and then, looking up ahead, I realised we were coming into a clearing in the trees, all lit up with about a hundred tea lights and with figures moving about and talking in whispers. It was soooooooo spooky. ‘Am I being used for sacrifice?’ I asked Fiona, and she said, ‘Something like that.’ And then we were there, and my sister Dale and my friends Lesley and Jane were waiting for us, giggling away like the Ya-Yas, with champagne and chocolate and rugs, and we popped the fizz and drank to the health of Husbands and Lies, whose official launch date was the following day. There we sat in the moonlight, putting the world to rights and probably scaring the proverbial out of any late-night dog walkers bold enough or foolish enough to venture anywhere near us, and, as we all agreed afterwards when we’d retired to Yann’s for a celebratory dinner and a drunken round of charades, it was quite, quite wonderful.
So that was me, thoroughly Knocked Up. And then this morning I got an email from my gorgeous editor Gillian saying she had picked up her copy of Heat magazine, which she has to read to keep on top of what’s going on in popular culture, and she found Husbands and Lies in the top ten book chart at number 3, with a five star rating! ‘A gritty debut,’ the reviewer had written. ‘Just keep the tissues handy.’
And there you have it. In Heat and Knocked Up. I tell you, I need a lie-down now to recover. I rang my husband straight away. ‘I’m in Heat,’ I said, provoking some strange spluttering noises down the other end of the telephone. I think he thought it was a chat-up line.
Susy McPhee is the author of Husbands and Lies, out now. Find out more about Susy by visiting her website.