Having toiled for what has seemed like aeons over my fictional version of the Hill and Adamson partnership, I looked at what I had a few weeks ago and realised it was finished – maybe not totally ready for publication, but the beginning and end felt right and the middle wasn’t far off. Most of the writing was polished (one chapter had just won a prize.) Suddenly it felt like the story I wanted to tell. As I made some minor revisions to the opening chapter, a new title popped into my head.
In the Blink of an Eye
I liked it.
For fun I decided to enter the MS into a competition and discovered writing a synopsis (usually the worst job in the world) had become a piece of cake. After all this time, the feeling of something coming together was overwhelming. So much so that on an impulse I sent the whole proposal off to the owner of a small press (we’d chatted over coffee last year) to see what she thought. I had a reply straight away saying the proposal was strong and she was looking forward to reading the sample. Within a day Lynn Michell of Linen Press got back to say she would like to read more and (my approach had been fairly casual) did I want her to consider it for publication?
By now I was feeling more confident about this book than I have ever done. I had an inkling if Linen Press said no, someone else might say yes. But who would that be? I could have gone looking for other, bigger publishers. That of course would mean finding an agent. The whole process could take months or years – with no guarantee of success. There were other small presses but what did I know about them? Linen Press (recently described as ‘the new Virago’), might be small, but it’s celebrating its tenth birthday this year. Crucially, I liked what I’d seen of its list, particularly Avril Joy’s Sometimes a River Song, a beautifully written and produced book which I mentioned not so long ago and has since won an award in the People’s Book Prize. Not many small presses had this kind of charisma.
To cut to the chase, I said yes, please consider it. Lynn read it and liked it – a lot! Within a week we had ourselves a deal. The rest is not history, it’s the future! If all goes well, In the Blink of an Eye will be out next year.
FINE WRITING FOR WOMEN, BY WOMEN
Feels like a good place to be.