Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Moving On Again

Well, I've been very negligent of this blog.. that's because of a whole flood of new developments.

Sadly, those new developments have nothing to do with publishing - right now, White Night is on its second round of submissions, out with three big publishers, but no news yet. Would be nice to get some feedback before the summer pause, but right now I'm concentrating on other stuff.

First of all, there IS a piece of good news in the writing division. I've been offered a wonderful job, in fact, a writer's dream job: a Writing Fellowship at Brighton University.

Fellowships are awarded to 30-40 published authors each year, and is funded by Britain's Royal Literary Fund, a charity for writers. Some time back the RLF found it just had too much money and didn't know what to do with it. The money comes from the literary estates of several writers, including famous ones such as Somerset Maugham and A.A.Milne (though the latter was sold to Disney). So, apart from helping writers in financial distress, they decided to create the Fellowship Scheme. Which is just brilliant.

The Fellowship Scheme posts published authors at universities all over Britain. They are given an office by the Uni and a computer, and they have to be present two days a week to help students with their written work - not creative writing, but essays, dissertations and the like. It appears that lost of studenst simply don't know how to write - so that's where we step in.

Isn't that a fantastic idea?

I actually applied for a Fellowship two years ago; I applied for 2006 and 2007. I didn't get the 2006 one, but I got the one starting this September. It's for one or two years.

This means another big move. Another!!! I moved to Germany just a year ago, and now it's back to England. Not only that. I intend moving my family from Eastbourne to Brighton. So right now I'm in the throes of getting our home in Germany ready for sale - it's goodbye for good. If we ever move back to Germany it'll be in rented accomodation.

I'm very excited about the move, because most of all it means I get to be back with my kids. I had to leave the two of them in England a year ago, which just about broke my heart. It was for the sake of my husband, who is ill with Parkinson's. But now I realise that the most important thing is for us all to be together. It's a long and complicated story, but I hope that after a long and cloudy time things will finally brighten up for us all. It's been sooooo hard....

The financial situation will of course ease up now (the RLF Fellowship does pay reather well for only two days), so I can relax a little regarding getting the book sold. And that's a relief!

Anyway, it feels good to have finally updated the blog and I hope to keep it up better in future. I've been rather down in the last few months but I feel things will move upwards from now. I do hope so. Thanks for looking in!

Friday, March 30, 2007


To Patricia Wood, whose debut novel Lottery will be out in August - and just got a huge spread in the Putnam catalogue!

Here's her blog post about it....

Pat is one of those people you love to love, and I'm pleased and proud to be part of her writing world.


On my submission status:
The Ballantine acquisitions team turned down White Night.

Something tells me it's going to be a long, long wait.
One thing you need a lot of in the publishing world is patience.
Patience, patience, and yet more patience.
Nothing moves quickly.

So the question is: do I regret it?
Do I regret my little private rebellion against HarperCollins?
Should I have written that option novel just the way my editor wanted, taken the advance, and ran?
If I had, would I be big by now, and writing what I really want to write, like she'd promised, back then in the Grand Hotel Eastbourne?
A part of me does have regrets. That's the part of me that is struggling to keep my family above water financially. A part of me that wants to lie down and rest, to just write whatever they want, and to hell with everything else.

I'm tired. My husband is ill; he's contracted Parkinson's Disease, and just when I thought the kids are big enough to be on their own I've got someone new to care for. He's now retired and our income is cut by half. I'm tired of the struggle.

And another part of me says: it's OK. One day, it will be worth it.
One day I'll find the editor who can say a wholehearted YES to my work, and an acquisitions team who'll agree. One day, I know, I'll find my readers.

I truly believe that if I had given in back then, written a book by numbers instead of from my heart, I'd have lost whatever it is that makes writing special for me - a certain magic.
I want to preserve that magic, find it again and again. I want an agent who roots for my writing and wants it to be the best it can be and will help me to get there - not one for whom a quick success is more important than growing into the best writer I can be.
In that sense, all is well.

I shall wait.

I'm back!

A few weeks ago I made this blog private, only visible to those with invitations, and invitations only going to other writers.
The reason:
I suddenly got paranoid. I thought of all the mistakes I've made in publishing, some foolish, some risky, some possible downright self-destructive, depending on how the next few weeks, months and years pan out.
I thought of the editors currently reviewing my manuscript.
I thought of the one who currently loves it (YES!) ; loves it enough to send it to the editorial board of Ballantine, Random House.
That's where it's been ever since.
What if They (They of the editorial board) read this blog? They'll think I'm a loose cannon! So, that's the reason I privatized it.
So if you came here in the last few weeks and found yourself locked out, I apologize (but then you wouldn't be reading this would you? Unless I've invited you back in). It wasn't personal. It was just my paranoia.

And then, things in my personal life weren't going so well.
They still aren't.
I did the equivalent of jumping into bed and pulling the blanket over my head; I more or less withdrew from the blogosphere.
But hiding in a cocoon of self-pity didn't do me any good, so here I am again: that ms is still out there, and news could come at any moment of any day. That news may be good, it may be bad, but whatever it is, I'll just keep on trucking.
What choice have I got?
Welcome back, me!