In the run up to the Easter weekend, everything is chaos- we try to wring out of this four day weekend, slipped in before the school holidays begin, every last possible drop of time. Consequently my mind is buzzing with so many tasks that I end up doing the inadvisable- I allow our son to read my book. He finds it on the Ipad on the car journey home from school. How can it be that I’m more afraid of his comments than that of a literary agent? We arrive home. He carries on reading. He gives me a few comments, ” although they aren’t a critique”. I marvel at his interest in my words. Usually at their age, everything parents do is “rubbish”. He asks if I can send my book to his Kindle. I politely decline until his school tests are over at the end of this week. But secretly I am pleased that in an age when parents have a diminishing voice, my book is a voice to him.
Armed with his tacit approval and that of family members and friends who have faithfully navigated this journey with me, on Maundy Thursday, I resolve that the day has arrived to send my work off to a literary agent; not just anyone, but someone who fishes for historical fiction in a faraway land. In the quietness of my study whilst the kids are at school, I resend my e-mail no fewer than three times because I keep misreading the e-mail address of how to submit my work online. My heart is palpitating tangibly; butterflies whizzing in my stomach making me unable to eat as I strive to complete, the self-imposed deadline of submitting my novel before the onset of the Easter holidays. Since November 2015, I’ve been spending every possible minute of time I can afford reading the ‘completed’ novel aloud to myself whilst sacrificially foregoing the benefits of Sonos; striking out superfluous words which alter the rhythm and voice of the narrative and carefully reweaving elements of my historically fictitious novel to achieve an authenticity of plot that is synchronised with the events of The Great Famine and Cultural Revolution of China. I want my reader to be completely immersed in the braid of three cords in my tapestry so that my novel appears like a work of non- fiction, except I have the amazing privilege of being its puppet master.
My mind is like a see seen at present; I am precariously balanced between hope and rejection. But the pivot on which it all rests is simply this- I believe in the story I have created; I am passionate about the journey which my protagonist has undertaken and I know that it is only a matter of time before I can share my novel more widely. I hope that time will not be too far off because yesterday evening, the voice for the sequel to my book started ringing already in my head.
So tomorrow, I will restart the day with my ” one a day rule” of sending out my manuscript to another targeted literary agent, and as much time as allows, find the creativity to breathe life into a new protagonist who will take me on a new journey.