When we say a book is released we mean of course that it has become publicly available – but release also carries a sense of being set free after a (sometimes long) period of confinement. Prisoners who’ve served their sentence get released. Pent-up emotions can be released. A “lock-up”, a closed briefing session, precedes the release of a government’s budget.
Yesterday my new novel The Mind’s Own Place officially emerged at last into the marketplace, and so I feel elation, yes – but also some empathy with two of its main characters, who get transported to the Swan River Colony as convicts and eventually gain their “ticket of leave” (the first step towards conditional freedom).
After their periods of incarceration – first in England, awaiting transportation; then on the voyage out; and finally behind the grim walls of the “Convict Establishment” (Fremantle Prison) – to be set at liberty again must have felt exhilarating.
My book, too, has been cooped up for what seems a very long while since its completion, awaiting this scheduled release. Now, like those discharged inmates, it must make its way in the world, hoping for a good reception but knowing that a ticket of leave can’t guarantee this.
There will be a celebratory launch, with the usual book signings etc., on 15 July. For details of that event and others coming up, click here. For information about the book on my publisher’s website, click here. For an interview-based article on it in The West Australian, click here.