An author's year

Chloë MayerChloë Mayer

Wanstead resident and author Chloë Mayer had her first novel published last November. During the intervening 12 months, there have been moments of tears, surprise and laughter.

Exactly one year ago, I was about to embark on one of the scariest and most thrilling experiences of my life. I had written a rather long Microsoft Word document on my laptop – mostly in my pyjamas whenever I had a bit of spare time at home – and had somehow ended up with a literary agent and a publishing deal. That document was my first novel, and it was published as a hardback last November.

The Boy Made of Snow is set in a sleepy English village in 1944, where a mother and her young son live in the shadow of war. When they befriend a German prisoner consigned to a nearby farm, their lives are suddenly filled with exciting secrets. But the little boy, who is obsessed with fairy tales, struggles to tell the difference between reality and fantasy – and one day he tells a terrible lie that leads to tragedy and murder.

I couldn't believe that my book – my old Word document! – was suddenly available in shops. I'd dreamed of being an author since I was a little girl. It turns out that it's quite a strange experience to have a dream turn into reality. And it's been a funny old year.

On one hand, nothing much has changed. I live in the same flat in Wanstead, I hang out with the same people and I even do the same job (freelance journalism, which I now do part-time to fit around writing my second novel).But on the other hand, there have been some very special moments. The hold-your-breath-try-not-cry moments, the remember-for-the-rest-of-your-life moments. The moments when you realise you've stepped into your dream.

Seeing my book displayed in Waterstones and Foyles one Saturday; yep, I definitely had something in my eye that day. And there have been some other moments that caught me by surprise, such as being contacted by readers who enjoyed the book or reading some really lovely reviews by critics. There was a particularly surreal afternoon when I was invited to a recording studio to watch an actor narrate the audio edition. And there were moments that made me laugh too; hearing that my publishers danced in their office when the Kindle UK edition became the number one bestseller for a heady couple of days.

But it was scary and nerve-wracking too. What if people hated it? What if it didn't sell? What if I let everyone down?

So, there we have it. A year after publication; nothing has changed and everything has changed. As I say, a funny old year. Now the paperback has just been released. So, I find I'm still strapped to the same white-knuckle ride. I'm scared and nervous all over again. Wish me luck!

The Boy Made of Snow is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson and is available in hardback and paperback, as an audiobook and e-book. Visit or follow Chloë on Twitter @ThatChloeMayer

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