Hello everyone - just put the kettle on so come on in. Tea? Coffee? Personally could do with an espresso or two myself, it has been quite a week. In fact, blow the diet - who fancies a slice of Chocolate Nemesis?
I'm really thrilled to have joined the Racers - I've been 'lurking' since starting my own blog a year and a half ago. As we haven't been introduced properly perhaps I should start by saying where I am on the race towards getting published. At the moment it feels less like a sprint than a cross-country endurance marathon (*picks twigs out of hair and catches breath*). I've been writing for a long time, seriously for about ten years. Back in 2000 an agent said my first book was '95% there' - but unfortunately couldn't put her finger on which 5% wasn't. I went away, travelled, moved to Spain, had two babies - and worked on the book during their nap times.
In 2006 I started working with The Agent Who Shall Remain Nameless. On her recommendation I paid an editor to knock my first novel into shape (yes, I know ....). I had a choice between going to Venice for our tenth wedding anniversary or paying for the edit - the book won (shows how badly I wanted this to work, and I still haven't seen Venice yet). But the Agent was a big name, and I trusted her (who shouted out 'Fool!' at the back?) So the book was edited, sent back to her, she loved it, and I thought 'anyday now she's going to sell it!' and started fantasising about spending my advance on luxuries like food, heating bills and clothes for the children:) But I waited. And waited. And wrote another book. Meanwhile she turned her attentions away from books and towards 'slebs. Finally in 2008 we had a meeting. She told me debut authors were dead in the water. Publishing was dead in the water. We parted company.
Happily a year ago I signed with a lovely agent at Curtis Brown, and I've just finished a new book for her. It's set during WW2 (so I've been listening to a lot of swing bands, hence today's clip). She's just read it, likes it (yey) and I'm waiting for her notes. Hopefully once I've cajoled, buffed and tweaked the manuscript (I sound like a fluffer), it will be ready for submission. So that's where I am with the race - about 70% of the way through my third unpublished novel:) I'm juggling writing with work and family life, (two small children, a diva-like afghan hound who has much better hair than me, and a frequently absent pilot DH).
This week, I recorded my heat of 'The People's Author' prize for ITV (which is why I really need another espresso - anyone else like a second cup?) I'll be able to report more about this once the episode airs on Monday, but if you think of the look of a rabbit caught in headlights and cross this with the eloquence of Patsy on Ab Fab when she appeared on breakfast TV (she forgot the word 'accessories' and just mumbled 'hats, shoes, gloves ...' repeatedly) you will get a good idea of my TV debut.
Frankly after yesterday's grilling, I can hardly summon the energy to write an envelope. So that's the question for today - how do you keep going? In the face of rejection, the trauma of Agents Who Shall Remain Nameless, and apparent disinterest in debut authors, how do you keep hope alive? Have any of you had the experience of switching agents or similar heartache? Lately I've been thinking it would be more sensible to quit the race to get published entirely and do something practical and immediately rewarding. Like llama farming. What do you think? Are we all mad (in the best possible way)? The only reason to write is because you love it - but it would be very, very nice to see a publishing contract on the other side of the finishing line ...