It’s amazing how quickly you get used to a good thing. I’ve only had two Fridays off so far, and yet the fact that I have to go to work tomorrow is making me go ‘rubbish! It’s soo unfair!’ like a disgruntled teenager. At least I have a good reason for it: I swapped round my days off so I could go to London on Monday and talk to an agent about my book. Yes, little me, talking to an actual agent, about the book what I wrote. Now, just because I don’t believe in fate doesn’t mean I want to tempt it, but I think it went OK. She didn’t say ‘this is a masterpiece and must be published immediately!’ but nor did she say ‘this is terrible and if you don’t stop stalking me I am going to call the police.’
So, what are the next steps? Well, to explain I need to backtrack a little. The Heartland of the Winter started life as a stand-alone novel; but then, as so often happens, the tale grew in the telling. First I realised that there was much more to tell at the end. Then I realised that there was also more to tell at the beginning. Finally I had to face facts: I had accidentally written the middle of the trilogy first.
Oh well, writing a book is very much something you can only learn by doing; a bit of trail and plenty of error. I did consider finishing off the whole trilogy before trying to submit it anywhere, but that sounded like too much work. So I sent off the book as it was, crossed my fingers, and waited for a response. I got one… and guess what, the response was that the book shows promise but feels incomplete, and needs more work before it’s ready to go. I can’t claim this came as a surprise, but I still found that the joy of getting a broadly positive answer was a little bit tempered by disappointment at finding that I still have a bit more work to do before that launch party and book tour.
So it’s back to the writing desk for me. I think I’ve figured out how I can incorporate the earlier events into the narrative without writing an entire prequel, and how I can extend the end so it comes to a satisfying conclusion whilst still leaving a bit of a sequel hook. If all goes to plan, I should end up with a two-book series of which the first part – The Heartland of the Winter, Final Draft, version 2 – should be ready within, as a rough estimate, three to six months. But then, tales do grow in the telling…