I’ve been a magazine and newspaper journalist for 17 years, writing about a wealth of subjects from tantric sex to travel. It wasn’t until 2010, however, that I switched on my computer and wrote those ominous words The Novel 1. Months of keyboard tapping and about 27 drafts of The Maid’s Room later, I started the search for a literary agent.
They all ignored me apart from an agent from AM Heath who was positive about the book. I then entered The Maid’s Room into a competition for debut novelists run by literary consultancy Cornerstones last year. When I saw my name on the longlist I star jumped my way around the house and shouted a lot. Then, much to my surprise, the book went on to be shortlisted into the final three. Although I didn’t win, a literary agent was interested in my book and recommended rewriting about a third of it.
So far, I’m unagented but have some exciting leads (fingers and toes crossed, plus lots of pressing of the email refresh button). And, after that, there’s always the self-publishing route.
Yes, it’s slow. Yes, it’s frustrating. And yes, I do wonder whether trying to get a novel published is sending me slightly loopy. But I can’t seem to stop writing so I’m in it for the long haul, with all its highs and lows.