But things could've been so very different...
Around October 2009 I heard from A Twist Of Noir Editor, Christopher Grant, that a powerhouse in the publishing world was hunting on the internet for new talent. I believe Chris put forward a few names, and, being the type of genuine guy who looks out for his mates, Chris kindly pointed Nat Sobel in the direction of Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers. Matt Hilton gave me the heads up that Nat Sobel had described my writing as 'impressive' and informed me to expect an email. Gulp, I thought, recalling what Nat had done for Stuart Neville and The Ghosts of Belfast.
Now then, obviously the tingle of excitement was there, but I heard absolutely nothing for a few weeks, yet there were rumbles in the blogosphere that other writers had been invited to send stuff to Nat.
Then it struck me like a slap in the face...
While co-editing TKnC, Matt 'n' I were receiving lots of spam per day, as our emails were on the site for all to see 'n' abuse... I had deleted Nat Sobel's email!
Had I blown my big chance before it had begun? In early November I wrote Nat an email designed to resurrect my chances, and thankfully, he requested the first pages of my crime novel. However, those pages changed several times, with Nat looking for 'improvement'. I later sent him the whole novel and he suggested many, many changes.
By early 2010, when Nat asked me to basically start from scratch, my head nearly popped! It was very heavy going, but I soldiered on, and re-sent it. When many more changes were suggested it nearly sent me under! If I change that bit, then that bit doesn't make sense... I was tired from work... the kids kept interrupting me... the dog kept interrupting me... the wife kept interrupting me... sleep kept inter'... you get the message. My family have been brilliant throughout and I sincerely appreciate their patience.
I did the changes, and noticed the novel was taking shape and reading better. A couple of months ago, I sent off draft three. The waits in between each draft being sent were torturous. Expecting a, 'No, you're shit really, and this was a big mistake.' It came back requiring more edits... so I did them, wondering when I'd actually reach a point when it would be good enough.
Last night at 3.00 am (I write better at night) my email pinged with Nat's response to draft four... That tingle of excited again... "...It seems to me that you have done all the work I’ve asked for... We are going forward... My plans for the novel are... ...I can’t guarantee publication, but I am going to really try...."
I didn't cry (okay there was a solitary tear, but don't tell Nat!), but my relief was tangible.
Nothing has happened yet, I know, but big steps have been taken on this steep learning curve, and I am honoured to be represented by someone as experienced and professional as Nat Sobel. And it's fair to say that he squeezed this novel out of me.
I would like to thank all my friends in the blogosphere for your support and encouragement, in particular those I'm in daily contact with - you know who you are.
Also a big shout to Chris Grant for the fateful role he played. And who says networking doesn't work?
The moral of the story is... check your spam before clicking delete!
Ps. Off to Scotland for a few days for a rest :)