So your partner has become an author. Congratulations. This may not have been your choice but congratulations anyway. With a little attention an author can be a rewarding companion as well as a curiosity and a conversation piece. But there are just a few things you need to know.
1) If you do not already have a paying job, you may need to get one. Do not imagine the future will be fame, fat royalties and film contracts. That sort of thing only happens to other people.
2) If your author greets you with a big smile and the news that they have written x000 words, it is unkind to remind them what they said the other day about how little reward is related to effort in this profession. Coo adoringly and tell them how clever they are. (If on the other hand your author does not offer to tell you what they have achieved, do not press them. Very probably they have no idea.)
3) Authors spend a lot of time in their own heads and may pay little or no attention to the outside world. This can be frustrating for those who share their lives. Learn to recognise the signs. Muttering, pacing about and seemingly random activity such as unstacking dirty plates from a dishwasher that has not yet run probably means that something creative is happening in there and it’s best not to disturb. Just restack dishwasher when they have moved to loading the cat into the tumble-dryer. On the other hand, if they are drifting around the house with a vacant expression this may mean that their thoughts have got lost somewhere inside their skulls and they need help to get out. Try saying things like ‘Shall we watch the news now?’ or ‘Would you like a hand with supper?’ In extreme cases, shake, slap or announce casually that you have put the computer on e-Bay. That ought to do it.
4) Authors, particularly male ones, may neglect their grooming. It is best to keep an eye on this because once things slip they can slip a long way. Deal with it while the products you need are still in the realm of the pharmacy. If you have to resort to the garden centre it is probably too late. But also be realistic. Your author is never going to be a fashion accessory.
5) At some point your author will produce their latest typescript. This is a delicate moment. You are now about to discover who it is they have spent their last few months with. If you find, for example, that your author has involved themselves with romantic interest of a particularly dashing or beautiful variety, it is best to read nothing into this. Really it is. Similarly, if you encounter hot love-scenes that bear no resemblance to anything - so far as you can remember - that your author has ever experienced, just assume that they have lifted these lines verbatim from the work of some other author. Almost certainly, that is what they will have done. (And that other author will have done same. And ditto, and ditto.)
6) Criticism. This can be a difficult one. Authors’ egos are fragile things and must be carefully nurtured. Bear in mind, however, that the publishing world is full of meaningless hyperbole and that your author will be at least dimly aware of this. Phrases such as ‘I like it’ will be taken to mean no more than ‘I have managed to read the first three pages without gagging’ etc. Say what it is you like about the book, and you had better mean it. Do not be shy of pointing out weaknesses either – your author will be grateful for this. At least, they should be. Above all, leave them wanting to go on writing. If this is not possible then it is probably kindest to have them put down.
7) Final thought. Do not breed from your author. One in the family is quite enough.