As the publication date for Maid of Oaklands Manor approaches I’m finding more and more people asking me about how much money I’m going to make. Now, I really want to make this absolutely, perfectly clear; this book is not going to make me rich! It’s not going to get me enough to buy a house, or a car, or probably even enough to pay off my Visa (which isn’t that big a bill!) If I’m lucky I’ll have a little bit of extra pin money around Christmas. Unless Julian Fellowes decides to adapt it for ITV, of course 😉
I also want to state once more that, hand on heart and may my trousers fall down in public if I’m telling a lie here: I KEEP FORGETTING ABOUT THE MONEY! True story. This book has been my tribute to my grandmother, and I’m beyond thrilled that I’ve been able to immortalise her name in its (digital) pages, along with one of my favourite stories of hers from when she was in service. But I honestly mean it when I say that being published by an imprint of a major publishing house has been the biggest part of this. It’s been such an exciting and enlightening time, I’ve learned so much (I feel as if I’m a candidate on The Apprentice here, and can hear Lord Sugar in my head saying: “throughout this process!”) and whatever comes next is going to be just as exciting, I’m sure.
Lady of No Man’s Land will hopefully be finished and pitched to coincide with the centenary marking the start of the First World War, and it’s such a great feeling to know it was actually conceived a good 3 years ago, when I was thinking about writing a WW1 novella as a companion to (what was then) Saturday’s Child. I don’t feel as if any band-wagon-hopping has occurred, because of that. I really hope Piatkus Entice, or one of the other Little, Brown imprints thinks it’s worth picking up the other books in this series, and that they offer me a contract for both of them, but I’m going to be writing them anyway.
You know I said I’m not going to get rich off this book? Well that’s true. But I can’t shake the feeling that, despite the fact that it’s considered too niche to pitch to a large, traditional publisher, I have something rather special with The Lynher Mill Chronicles. I really feel SO strongly about that, that I don’t even care about not pitching it, and will self-publish The Dust of Ancients this autumn . I have decided to create Lynher Mill Publishing as a business, and to self-publish anything that can’t find a traditional home, while writing whatever else is required of me as an author of Historical/Romance. I intend to pep up and finish Penhaligon’s Attic once I’m done with the three-book series (Maid, Lady, Daughter – that’s not the name of the series, I need to find one even if it’s just for my own use.) and then, hopefully, to move on to contemporary “romaction,” which is what I call the fast-paced romance thriller, such as Fire and Fury. I’d like to write more of those and I know I could write those faster than I can write historical!
The Kate Nash Literary Agency Day. London, June 15th 2013.
I accepted the invitation to this rather wonderful occasion, thinking; “oh my god I’m going to feel such the outsider. I hope I don’t make a total teapot out of myself.” I was convinced I’d have nothing to offer, that I would sit in the corner and rock, chanting “I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy,” until someone very kind escorted me off the premises.
After getting a coach at silly o’clock, and paying over the odds for a taxi so I wouldn’t have to fight the tube, I got there after a couple of people and before some others, so right away I didn’t feel I’d messed up there. And I couldn’t have been in nicer company. Everyone was absolutely wonderful, and although nervousness made me babble quite a lot, and a lot of it was, undoubtedly, complete rubbish, no-one made me feel as if I should go to my corner and just belt up. I don’t want to make this blog post even more ridiculously long, so I won’t go into the details of the day, I just wanted to illustrate here, in the spirit of the way I’m starting to feel, that I actually believed I belonged there – in part thanks to the loveliness of my fellow clients, but also, and yes, I’m going to say it: because BLOODY HELL I HAVE A BOOK COMING OUT IN LESS THAN TWO WEEKS!
The theme that’s emerging from this post even as I write it, is that I have discovered a confidence in my own work I could never draw on before. I can come out and say: “this is good!” and believe it, instead of muttering, “I hope it’s not too awful.”
I like that.
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Thank you for reading!