My breathing is under control, slowly. It has to be, because it appears a respected literary agent in the US likes my Left Luggage sci fi trilogy and wants to represent it. He asked me two questions.
1) why did I want a US agent rather than a UK one?
So, I explained: I’ve been represented by three UK agents over the last 6 years. One was frankly useless, I should have checked him out first. The second disappeared. When I contacted her home, the current householder told me that when he moved in there were over 200 parcels, probably manuscripts, all the way up the stairs. She (where are you Elizabeth Jones, formerly of Kinross?) remains missing but she probably returned towhere she previously was a publisher’s editor. The third was Christopher Hill. If you google him you’ll see that his agency collapsed when it was discovered he concocted publishers’ reports for his clients. In fact I ‘look after’ 46 of his former clients: I run a support and advice Yahoo group for them, and through editing advice and through network contacts have helped some to be published. Of course some of them easily ‘look after’ themselves. Hello Gladys, Brian and Gary, Silky, Barbara, Sheila – hey they can ALL look after themselves! Probably better than I look after me. With three UK agents letting me down and under advisement from friends, I’ve aimed for a US agent. This is reinforced by the knowledge that there is more lively science fiction and fantasy readership and publication base in the US than in the . There are US main characters in Left Luggage and some of the action takes place there. Lastly, I’ve had a positive experience working as co-editor with US Robert Blevins, owner of small press Adventure Books of
2) was I prepared to work hard on the manuscript?
I recall showing my synopsis and chapter one to the Scottish sci fi writer, Charles Stross. He said have you written book two of Left Luggage? I confirmed I had and that it was being critiqued by the Orbiters group at the British Science Fiction Association. Charlie sucked in – the air whistling through his teeth. ‘Never write the second book of a trilogy until the first one is sold.’ Oh well, at least I haven’t written the third one! Of course having an agent is only one hurdle. The agency still has to persuade publishers how wise they would be to take out a contract on Left Luggage.
Meanwhile, Double Dragon Publishing have appointed an editor for my Exit, Pursued by a Bee, and I continue to work on Xaghra’s Revenge. My thriller, Hot Air, is being published by Wuacademia in the Netherlands this year. It all sounds so busy and yet I make more money – and yet not much at that – from editing other folk’s novels than my own. Such is a writer’s life.
In spite of almost continual rain this winter, I did try out my new Dawes Super Galaxy bicycle even if only on local roads. On Wednesday on my return home, I saw a white lorry leaving my drive. It had a stack of fridges, washing machines, freezers on board and YES, my dishwasher! It was an old broken one I had at the top of the drive waiting for me to order a skip to throw in other rubbish. If the driver had stopped, I would have said: Cheeky but thanks. My neighbours saw him and said he’d knocked on the door. They assumed I’d arranged the collection. Suppose my old dishwasher was to be repaired by a friend or I wanted to spray it silver and enter it for an art competition? The man was a thief, though I’m grateful.