Me and my minder
researching Torque The Novel
Last week I received another encouraging rejection letter for my novel Torque. For years I’ve been told to expect rejection, to have fiction published is an impossible feat. And yet I am also informed tens of thousands of books are published each year. If this is the case why do I find myself searching the reviews for a decent read and resorting to novels published years ago? Where have all the good novels gone?
This rejection backs up a revelation at the recent Wigtown Book Festival when on two occasions I heard speakers state that ‘everyone’ was sick of Scottish authors.
A journalist recounted his efforts to have books reviewed in the press, only to be told ‘We’ve recently reviewed McCall Smith, Rankin and JK Rowling, can you give us a break from the Scots?’
At another session, an author, who is an Englishman resident in Scotland explained to his audience that his publisher instructed him to loose his Scots connection, it was bad for business.
But it isn’t only Scots authors who suffer. My depression sank deeper when I read this article from the Frankfurt Book Fair.
The ‘wise ones’ tell me to persevere. One quality I have in abundance is determination. I recently joined a forum, The Small Press Exchange, which I hope will put me in touch with writers and readers in a similar predicament.
And today I laid down the first 1500 word of novel number two.
This mix of essay and poetry from the distinctive voice of American writer John D’Agata was an invigorating and challenging read for a curmudgeon like me. His young enquiring mind takes nosedives into areas never before explored and what a thrill that ride was. The style is engaging and the language clear, but never being one for academia, I found some of his references mystifying. At times the essays soared over my simple head, in particular The Flat Earth Map: An Essay, about the Flat Earth Society. The highlights for me were Collage History of Art by Henry Darger, which tells the tale of an obscure artist. And the chilling final essay And There Was Evening and There Was Morning about the burning lights of Las Vegas. It plunged me back into my Eco Rant.
Why do tall buildings need so many lights burning all through the night anyway?