everyone thought i was a drug dealer until i was on television as this writer of cloudstreet. blah— dee—blah. i was an overnight success after ten books. it has not all been plain sailing because you write in the book, you describe it as having a nervous breakdown, when writing another novel called dirt music — and this is not you at the beginning of your career, this was 20 years in. what happened ? i'd been writing this book for seven years and i thought i'd finished my last draft and i told my publishers it was all good to go, and they announced it to the world that there was this book coming from me. and it had a slot, it was all real, and then there was this day when it was finished, my wife left to go to work and i'm wrapping it up to send this dirty great thing off, she got home at the end of the day and i was still there wrapping it up, unwrapping it, looking through. i had this sick feeling that it wasn't there. i wanted to just burn it and run away and never speak of it again. but it felt like people's jobs were on the line and i made this commitment to people.
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