Anyone who’s been dipping into this blog on Writing Matters will have noticed that the first few lines often stray far away from my intended subject. But I won’t talk about today’s torrential rain - and I’ll wait till Sunday, when I post my next Poem of the Week, before I tell you about my radio interview on Chris Morgan’s Poetry Show this evening.
Now it’s back to the next phase of my novel’s journey towards publication. I imagine the package being opened by someone at The Literary Consultancy, who glances through the synopsis and decides which of their team of Readers to send it to.
Time was doing its usual trick, and had already swallowed the rest of September and the whole of October before I’d even noticed they’d come round again. Then, half way through November, a letter arrived from Sara Maitland , the well respected novelist who also works as a Reader for TLC.
She remembered reading my previous novel, In The Lamb-White Days, and how beautifully written it was. After some more encouraging words, she moved on to the book in hand, The Dangerous Sports Euthanasia Society.
I was delighted with her initial comments :
In the first place, I think that the idea behind the book –the “concept” – is delightful, enormous fun and surprisingly original
She then paid me the complement of commenting in depth and detail for several pages about the aspects she liked and those which she felt could be developed or altered. I respected her suggestions, but at this stage, after all the cutting back I’d done in response to Leigh Pollinger’s suggestions, I knew that the book was now set in its own shape – it was a finished product.
But the crucial part of her report was this:
I don’t know if you have noticed but there is a new press setting up in Oxford to publish novels, called Transita (www.transita.co.uk) specifically to publish “grown up” novels-so they obviously think there is a market out there.
She went on to explain that Transita had just taken on a novel by a friend of hers which had been stigmatised as being about “middle aged people”.
‘So I think there is a good chance that novels on themes like yours are going to be coming into fashion, and this will obviously be an enormous advantage in selling DSES.’
The next package I took to the post, contained the synopsis and first three chapters of The Dangerous Sports Euthanasia Society. It was addressed to Transita.