I set off for London to see my agent, Charlotte Robertson of Aitken Alexander Associates, with some trepidation. Writing books is something you do essentially alone, chained to a keyboard somewhere, it's not as if you have weekly progress meetings or anything. So you can get seventy, eighty, ninety thousand words into a book and have no idea if it's working or not. My first drafts are just a heap of chapters and scenes in no particular sequence, even though I do try to write in order. So, months after I start I have reordered, rewritten and hopefully improved the thing into an actual novel, then something happens. I start to like it. Not the whole, but bits of it. I start to pat myself, entirely secretly, on the back for the chase through the forest or the scene at the hotel. Then I have to show it to someone.
Charlotte is my show-it-to person.
She is quite matter of fact with things that don't work, and enthusiastic about things that do. I have come back fired up with ideas to work n those areas of the book that don't excite and enthuse either of us. More than that, I showed her the plans for book 3 and a crime novel I'm rewriting for fun. (My hobby is writing as well as work!). Book 3, yes, green light. And my quirky crime novel where no-one is actually murdered, yes, give it a go! But what I really needed was reassurance ahead of publication that I could write, my books work and my instincts are good. It's heady stuff, all that positive feedback, and I shall keep it in the back of my mind for dark days when the words stutter.
I also met my editor, Michael Rowley and his assistant Emily Yau, from Del Rey UK. We joined two other Del Rey authors (Liesel Schwarz and E J Swift) that I've met on line, and we had a great evening. A whole evening full of people who are passionate about writing and story and books. It turned out we are also captivated by our cats, which helped with the I've-just-put-my-cat-down blues. Publication still seems a distant fantasy, but less so, hearing these writers describe their journey. I was inspired by them, as I have already been by their books.