The wait for November when my book would be finally published was excruciating. With all the 'fuss' of winning the competition winding down, I just wanted to see Whispers on the shelf. Superstition was lurking. What if the publishing company goes broke before the date of release? What if there's a mistake and the judges.... What if the printing press jams? But other, more urgent matters took over. My daughter was stricken with a life-threatening infection that would require heart surgery. My mother was to have exploratory surgery, for cancer. With my daughter in hospital, my granddaughter came to live with us, joining the two others that we care for. I was still working full-time and the combination of work, caring for three children and travelling to hospitals was taking its toll. Yoga remained my constant support. On the day of publication, my daughter was scheduled for surgery. Who cares about a book, I thought. But once again the surgery was put off for another day. When I was certain that she was resting, I caught the tram to my favourite bookstore, Readings in Carlton. I stood by the shelves looking for Whispers but was unable to find it. "Can I help you?" asked a shop assistant. I cleared my throat. "My ... book ... is published today," I told him. He beamed with genuine pleasure, "Congratulations! What's it called?" When I told him he excused himself to search the inventory. Five minutes later he returned with a hand full of ... Whispers in the Wiring. "I'll put it here," he said, leaning up into the "A" authors and placing it next to "Amis". He angled one copy so that its cover faced into the shop and turned to me and smiled. "Thanks," I said, "Do you mind if I take a photo with my phone?" He laughed, "Go ahead." When he left I stood looking at it for some time. Again that disassociation. I was staring at it but I couldn't feel anything. I took the photo and went to a local cafe. Over a latte and apricot Danish I offered a quiet toast to myself, and to Rupert and Neti. I got on the tram and sat with my mother in one hospital, then back to my daughter's bedside in another. 

AuthorAmanda Apthorpe