Everyone has a book in them, is what they say but does that mean that everyone has a story to tell or that everyone is capable of writing a book?
Anyway I wrote a book. It was a mad idea really because apart from letters to my nan in Ireland I’ve never written a jot. I failed O’Level English Lit; Shakespeare and Emily Bronte – fine, Chaucer? No way. So I’ve no credentials or a reason why anyone should read my book…still…I’m pursuing publication.
My book is special, not obviously so to agents, but to me, yes. Its premise was born from nattering away with my daughter Kitty. I was confined to a bed, you see, in the alcove of a gloomy, poorly decorated, open plan lounge. Which was orange? I don’t mean trendy tangerine, I mean rusty, dirty, orange which definitely contributed to my poor state of health. Unable to ascend the stairs and wander into my kid’s rooms like a mum does they came to me. School, xbox, how crappy homework is, Vampire Diaries, Suits, Plan B, Maroon 5; were the random lifelines I clung to when I felt I was drowning. What scared me more than the pain, than being disabled or paralysed was loneliness. Losing my identity, my kids no longer seeing me as ‘mum’ and us drifting apart was gut wrenchingly and bitterly painful…So we started talking about writing a book, because we thought we could create the perfect antihero.
Kitty would spend hours at the end of my bed, and we’d plot and devise and laugh and I’d bug her to go and do her homework while Paddy repeatedly asked,
‘Are you really going to write a book?’
“How do you know you can do it?”
“If I can make someone as special and amazing as you, I can write a book.”
But I didn’t, well not for a while. I had a lots of ups and downs, as all of us do and then I reached a point where I felt my disability swallowing me up. I looked in the mirror and it wasn’t me so I resurrected ‘Henry Whittle’ to save myself and keep me close to my children.
Now living in a cosy little house, with flowery cushions and Bert(a little terrier cross we adopted) my husband would lift the laptop onto a cushion resting on my lap and I would type. There was no written plan or chain of events. In my imagination, I found a strong pair of legs, that carried me down a meandering lane, somewhere near where Henry lived and I spent my time with him and Phoenix until pain made me wander home again.
Daily I would update the girls and we would devise what happens next and the book became an extension of our relationship and so Gertrude (Grace) T (which is me) Kitty (Caitlan) emerged. Three people, one book. I know it sounds weird but when I was writing the book, which is multi perspective, I felt them with me and I wouldn’t have written it without them. So my book is beyond precious.
Now back to the point of this blog. I finished the book the night before I went in for my third operation. When I returned home, I was not in a good place physically or mentally. My book is one of the reasons I pulled myself through it. Remember I’m a complete amateur, in a lot of pain, seriously in need of a distraction. So in my topsy turvy way, I started emailing my manuscript off to agents. I had no idea about editing because when you’re in serious discomfort you don’t read anything in less than 24 font so all the online advice slips under the radar. My goal now – publication.
Oops! There is interest in my book, but other than Gertrude, Kitty and me pouring over it for hours and hours correcting grammar and typos, it’s naked.
I think that my, no, our book, Gertrude’s, Kitty’s and mine deserves to be persevered with. We love it, we think it’s great, the characters are made with blood, sweat and tears and quite a lot of Tramadol!
It is still being considered by two agents who have had the full manuscript for quite a long time now. Meanwhile yesterday the cavalry arrived in the form of https://literaryconsultancy.co.uk/ who have kindly agreed to edit my book at no cost as part of their Free Read scheme. What does this mean? It could be the difference between a yes and a no from a literary agent, it could be the key to getting published.
My book is so much more than words, characters and plot, it’s about three women, two generations, who didn’t want to lose each other so they made a pact. The name of that pact ‘The Rebirth of Henry Whittle’.
Thank you https://literaryconsultancy.co.uk/