- Twelve short stories.
- 27 characters. (Eleven without names, how neglectful of me but I welcome you to give them some.)
- 31 countries I've written about in some form or another.
- 47767 words.
- 87 is the total number of draft versions I accumulated.
- Two is the number of feet I saw through the hole in a massage table in Kuala Lumpur. And thus an idea was born...
- 659 days since I wrote the first word of this collection on 29th October 2011 as I waited for a bus from Singapore to Melacca. Somewhere on the second page of my scrawling, the heavens opened and a monsoon forced us under a rickety bus shelter.
- 18 countries that I have visited while working on these stories.
- 53545 words written in November 2012 as I finished the first draft while taking part in NaNoWriMo and I started to take this very seriously.
- Three is the number of kilograms that I put on after I wrote that first draft and I almost literally dined out on the success of a completed first draft. Plus, it was Christmas.
- Six was the number of weeks I waited before feeling brave enough to look at the stories again.
- 13 was the day in March that See the Amalfi Coast was published and there was no going back.
- Four is the number of kilograms that I lost while I found myself struggling, hating and stressing over the editing process.
- Running one mile a day every day (almost!) since March 2013, is what has undoubtedly helped me keep focused.
- Three stories that didn't quite make it.
- Two airports. One campervan. One caravan. One tent. Two five star resorts. Seven hotels.
- Two (sort of) sex scenes.
- One terminal illness. One wedding. One imaginary friend. One man who likes to iron underpants.
- Three sunsets and one almost magical sunrise.
- One story that came in late and from nowhere while I was living in Brighton. And no, it's not the one you're thinking of if you've read the book.
- One word that I may or may not have made up.
- One copy editor who quite rightly called the shots when it came to consistency and fact (and the hundreds of other words I made up).
- Seven amazing beta readers. Thank you Clare, Lucie and Marta for sharing your insights and support for my words and characters, thank you Nathalie for your all-seeing eye and dedication to my cause. And thank you Gesa for your uncompromising support and much treasured writer's wisdom.
- Three proofreaders. Thank you Eve, Julia and Sian. All come highly recommended.
- One cover designer who is too shy to be mentioned, but I'll get him out in the open one day soon.
- One lovely illustrator who didn't need to read my work and support it, but she did. Thank you, Laura.
- £550 spent on DOING THIS RIGHT.
- Ten bitten finger nails that will never be the same again. I really thought I'd kicked that habit.
- One encouraging boyfriend who has an aggressive and persistent faith in me. If you believe that someone you love can do something that they've always wanted to do, but they don't quite believe it themselves, I recommend shouting it at them because that may be the only way they'll hear it. Thank you NewMan for showing your faith in me in sweet whispers, deep discussions and shouting matches. I love you.
And then there are the things I can't count...
The friends and family members who have offered hugs, slaps on the back and high fives.
The strangers, maybe you're one of them, who left a review for See the Amalfi Coast, emailed me, sent me a tweet, messaged me on Facebook or left a comment on my blog to say "Hey, that wasn't the worst thing I've ever read." You'll probably never know how much it meant to me that you did that.
And the hours. Oh man, the hours. Countless hours of working, planning, researching, writing, editing, formatting, checking, thinking, panicking, worrying, laughing, crying and loving, truly loving, this journey more than I thought I ever would.
You can download Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel now or buy as a paperback from Amazon.
Frances M. Thompson
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