A few months ago, I began working on a small private project. Back then, the world was on lockdown and I found myself unemployed for the first time in my life. Desperation and boredom rarely go well together, and when I now reflect on those gloomy days, it’s fair to say that keeping my mind occupied with that idea was one of the very few things that kept me from slowly losing it.

By late summer though, things had drastically changed for the better: I was happy to dive into an exciting new professional endeavor, and the pandemic seemed largely under control. But I still couldn’t let go of that project, which, since then, has kept me busy many nights and most weekends. That is, until today.

I just hit send on an email to my publisher. With that, the second, revised, and final draft of Exploit, my first novel, is now officially on its way. 50,872 words. 236 manuscript pages. Countless hours of writing, pondering, deleting, and editing. And now, my part is practically done. If all goes well, I’m being told, this thing will be available in bookstores as early as February 2021. Printed. On actual paper. Made from dead trees and all. I don’t think I’ll really believe that until someone hits me over the head with one.

So, frankly, I have no idea how I’m supposed to feel at this moment. Anxious? Relieved? Satisfied? Proud? Honestly, I would say, I feel mostly grateful. This opportunity, that the pandemic opened up, was one that very few people are lucky enough to receive in our day and age: A chance to pour months and months of fulltime work into a create activity, without the slightest concern for economic feasibility. That’s something to appreciate. But I’m also deeply thankful to the nice people at the publishing house Polarise, first and foremost to Benjamin Ziech, who was mad enough to give an unknown first-time author a shot. And, finally, I’m sure I couldn’t have finished this work without the feedback, encouragement, and support I got from Katrin and Thomas Reisenbichler. Thanks, folks.

Update (March 2021)

It’s here. Wow.