Sunday, November 28

I DID IT!!!!

Nine months after the first words printed on the screen, I put the final full stop after THE END on my new novel. I post the first three chapters off with a smile and a hope she actually remembers me from the conference (it has been five months). Then again, from what I remember, her memory is very good. I wait.

A few days later, I get home from a particularly uneventful day at work and on my answer phone is a message. FROM THE AGENT!!! Telling me she wants to see the rest of my novel OH MY GOD!!!! I replay the message a trillion times. I call her back, trembling like an old fashioned blender. SHE LIKES MY WORK!!! I AM SPEAKING TO AN AGENT ON THE PHONE!!!!

I get my colleague at work to read it, again as I do, then post it off

I wait again.

One week later… nothing. I eventually pluck up the courage to call the agent and guess what? She wants to see me! THE AGENT WANTS TO SEE ME. Next week. AT HER OFFICE!!! OhMiGosh, OhMiGosh, OHMIGOSH!!!! On the phone, I stutter, sound like a complete prat, but manage to take down her address and make a time. I call my Nan, to tell her the good news. Then I dial my former ‘Im indoor’s number. Then hang up, of course. He’s been there from the start and it feels right to call…

Then he bloody well rings back because I forgot to press 141. I tell him the good news he tells me he’s not surprised, as he's always known how good I am (even though he has never read more than a page or so of my work!).

The next few days are spent in a blur. Wondering what will happen at this meeting with the agent. I re-read stories on the net of what happened to writers during their first meeting with their agents. Some signed contracts, others got a publishing contract within weeks!

Then that old problem creeps in; what am I going to bloody well wear??

Of course, the journey to the agent’s area is not without hiccups. My train journey (meticulously planned on London Underground’s route planner) flew out of the window, due to the line being suspended. Ok. But after imagining the agent’s staunch disapproval at my utter lateness, I arrived at my destination earlier than billed and used this time to gawp at the beautiful houses around me. Still unable to believe I am on my way to visit an agent. Funny enough, I’m not as hyped up as I’d imagined. Let’s face it, I’d gone over the moment in my mind for years. Five years and thought I’d be dancing on the ceilings, at the thought of finally doing it. But you know what? I still have this feeling of caution nestling within me. Perhaps I’m just a miserable cow, or just plain… cautious. Nothing wrong with that. Protecting myself. An innate defence mechanism, I have lived with most of my life (see, all that psychotherapy training has not gone to waste).

I finally arrive.

At the wrong door.

I am directed to the correct one and stand tall as the agent opens up the door. I enter.

Just what did happen in the agent’s house?

Hundreds of books. Thanks you notes from authors she had bagged deals for. I knew I was in the right place. With a glass of water in one hand and a pen and pad in the other, we got down to work.

Translation rights, film rights, everything just went over my head. We even had a chuckle about who could play my heroine – was this all real? The logistics of the novel obviously need changing. And with three pages of tips on alterations, 3 hours on the clock – I am ready to leave. I promise to have the alterations finished within two weeks. She tells me to take my time. I leave her office in a float and immediately phone my Nan and my former ‘im indoors. They are thrilled for me, as I remain still a little more tepid than I’d imagined. You see there’s something you should know about me; I’m LOUD. Really LOUD and it’s just not me to be so ...quiet. Yes I am excited, but at the same time a little tepid.

As soon as I get back to work, I book a week off work to do my corrections.

Within two weeks the corrections are sent off. The agent calls a week later telling me IT IS MISSING SOMETHING. Perhaps I should change the whole thing. Get rid of two of the main characters and WRITE IT IN THE FIRST PERSON! Wot? If I’d thought the waiting was over just because I’d visited an agent, I was wrong. The work had only just begun…

Christmas is almost here and I’m off to Nigeria to visit my mum just before New Year’s Day. So this will give me time to relax and not think about the manuscript. I can also take notes (considering the book is set in Nigeria). I’m lying if I said I am not disappointed, I was kinda hoping to have got really far by now. Oh well, next year is another year……