Ever since we visited London five years ago, we’ve always wanted to go back. There was something about that great city, whether it was the ancient architecture or seeing firsthand the places we’d seen on TV (Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, River Thames, London Eye, etc etc) I can’t say, but I fell in love with London.
To add to that, I had worked with many folks from the UK when I was at Nortel, and I have a special affinity for my dear friends across the pond. And, then along came the editor I’ve worked with for almost two years, Caroline Upcher, who hails from the UK as well and who has done so many good things to help me along as a new writer.
And now? I have another reason to love the UK and London in particular. About two months ago something quite interesting happened in my pursuit to publication, a different sort of twist that has added another dynamic to the ever changing landscape of this journey so far.
I completed my second novel in August and sent it off to Caroline, http://www.carolineupcher.com/ for her input. She provided her editorial letter a couple of weeks later. She really liked the story a lot and suggested I send it on to my agent for his feedback – without making any changes. I was incredibly excited about that because this second book was almost like a “proving ground” to me. I’d spent so much time on the first book, I wasn’t sure I could do it all over again and write another story that was worth anything.
Unbeknownst to me, in the meantime, Caroline, who had recently moved back to the UK a few months before, had been busy re-establishing her connections in the publishing industry there, mainly literary agencies. At some point, she had sent my first manuscript to one agency in particular and then, when I had the second manuscript completed, she had sent that to them as well
On September 20th, I had an email come in from her, titled “Wonderful Reaction.” I thought my agent, John Talbot, had contacted her and that his thoughts about the second ms coincided with hers. But, that wasn’t the case. She was emailing both John and I to explain that she had been sharing some of the manuscripts she worked on with a few London agencies and that she had shared both of mine with Bonomi and Associates, http://www.bonomiassociates.co.uk/.
They really liked DIXIE a lot, but because it was already under submission in NY, they had waited to read the second one. The feedback from one of the agents at Bonomi (Amanda Preston) made my heart race and my mouth go dry – much like I felt when I signed on with John Talbot.
Below is what she said:
“I absolutely loved this book. I was hooked right from the start and in floods by the end of the first chapter. Even though Eli’s voice is just that one chapter, she does him / his voice so brilliantly that the ghost of it echoes throughout the rest of the novel. And as to the rest of the novel, I thought it wonderful. I loved the explorations and developments of the main relationships (Truitt and Mary, Truitt and Second, Second and Maisy, Maisy and Mary etc), the rural setting in the South, the 1920s time period. I have to say I don’t usually well up when reading but I did quite a lot during this novel!”
It took me an entire week to get my heart rate down and another week to feel, what I presume to be…, normal. It was more than exciting to read her comments and to know that another industry savvy person appreciated the story and had such good things to say about it.
The idea is for John to partner with this agent in the UK. This will happen once a US publisher shows interest. For now, just getting these tidbits here and there that are so encouraging certainly makes the wait easier!
And, it’s just one more reason to love London…!
Hubby and me (2007) Enjoying an afternoon cocktail at Horniman at Hays – River Thames is to our left…
A nice shot I took of London.