I always swore that I would never go down the vanity publishing route. My reasons were twofold: I thought that if somebody had a story to tell and it was not good enough for a publisher to accept it, it should not be published; and I thought I was too much of a miser to contemplate actually paying to have a book published. But I should have realised that ‘never' is a long, long time.
Some time ago I had started putting together the story of buying our house in France. There had been so many occasions when Sheila and I found ourselves laughing hysterically for so many different reasons that I decided to write it all up before I forgot everything. As so often happens with good intentions, I wrote for a while and then let the whole thing languish in the depths of my computer's hard drive. I had written four chapters, which I had shown to several people who had found them amusing, but had become stuck in chapter five. I have to admit that I hadn't stuck rigidly to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but the story I had written was at least based on fact. There were a number of events which had been mildly amusing but which became (I thought) hilarious with just a little exaggeration or tweaking.
But back last summer I started a blog on which I posted a little bit each day. I thought I had enough material already written to keep me going for some time, and this might act a spur to get me writing again. And, wonder of wonders, it did! Sheila had from time to time reminded me of the project, and even suggested that I should try to have the story published as a series of magazine articles. I said nothing to her about continuing to write the story and she probably thought I had abandoned it completely. I was receiving what appeared to be encouraging noises from Skip, my Californian friend, who was reading the blog, and one day I chanced upon the web site of a local vanity publisher who would provide just five or ten copies of a paperback for a relatively modest price. What the heck, I thought, and went for it.
I have been reluctant to have the story, which I called ‘Lavenders Blue', made too public because I considered that some of my comments would offend people who would recognise themselves if ever they read them. However, few of the people about whom I have made disparaging remarks are fluent in English or are at all likely to come across the blog, so maybe one day I will try to find a publisher.
But I can't quite see me as the next Peter Mayle.