So, a week ago tomorrow my copy of MR. BAGGINS arrived on the porch, thanks to the speedy service of amazon.co.uk. I immediately poured myself a strong cup of tea and went upstairs to sit down in a sunbeam and leaf through it. It's taken me fifteen years to reach this point, and I had to savor the moment.
My first impression was simply 'wow'. The production department at HarperCollins did an amazing job, from the beautiful cover (by Tolkien himself) to the clean layout. Despite all that I packed into it, the book doesn't feel crowded. Better yet, I was struck by how it doesn't just look like a book (after all these years as files on computer screens and unwieldy masses of print-outs), it looks like a Tolkien book, typeface and all.
Since then I've been utterly buried in last-minute things for Part Two. I've now seen pdfs of the final text of everything but the index, and the sharp-eyed folks at H.C. caught a few typos that had slipped by, for which I am grateful.
As for Part One, I'm still adjusting to the idea that it's actually out, and that people are reading it (several of whom have dropped me notes; many thanks all). Maybe it'll all seem real once I finally down tools on Part Two; we'll see.