I was reminded today while reading the Blog of Cally Taylor that I'd intended to write about all the great things that happened along the way to getting this (these) book(s) published. While publication is still elusive (but fingers are still crossed), securing agent representation was certainly a major step along the road.
When I met Lora, and we agreed to work together, I was a little reluctant to go into too much detail - as Cally says, there is the fear of jinxing the whole thing if you get too excited.
But, a month down the line, with representation contract signed, and the manuscript of THE LONG SECOND out at (at last count) 5 publishers, I think it's okay to go into a little more detail about what happened on September 5th.
Lora invited me to meet her at The Groucho Club and I took great delight in putting the telephone number of the club in my mobile (in case I was delayed) and showing it to anyone who cared to listen. Not that, to my amazement, many people knew what The Groucho Club was (way to rain on my parade).
On arrival, I walked past it twice. I was expecting at least some sort of sign above the door, but, of course, it's much more subtle that that. Having pressed the bell I waited for a response, assuming the club was upstairs. After a moment I noticed the two receptionists waving at me over to my left. Strike one.
I pulled the door. It didn't open. I assumed it was still locked. They gestured for me to push it. Strike two.
Smiling sweetly (I hope) I professed that I was new here... as if they didn't know, but announced I was there to meet Lora.
There reply was one of those little moments: "Yes, we're expecting you, she'll be with you shortly." They were expecting me!
Lora arrived shortly afterwards. She was exactly as I expected her to be - how often does that happen? (Lora: If you're reading this, this is a good thing!)
We dispensed with the small talk, over a glass of wine for me and... something else for her (I think I can be forgiven for not catching what her tipple was, I was a little nervous), and she quickly made it clear that she was offering representation. I, of course, played it cool and said that it was only reasonable that I be given time to think about it, while all the time grinning like a village idiot.
I think it may have been that grin that gave it away. Was I going to accept? Of course...
She told me (and this is another one of those moments) that she "loved" THE LONG SECOND. She loved it! It's one thing for all your friends and family to tell you how good your book is but, lovely though that is, it counts for nothing. When a complete stranger (for that's what she was, really) who works in the industry tells you the same thing well, I think it's enough to bring a tear to the eye of the most hardened man. And I'm not the most hardened man. Not that I cried, of course.
We spent what can only be described as a very enjoyable two hours together; two hours that felt like I was in the company of an old friend. We talked about the book, and the series, and we talked about other totally unrelated things - just getting to know us. Honestly, I could have talked all afternoon, and I don't do small talk easily.
When we parted, I did my best to walk down the street as calmly as I could. Only when I rounded the corner, out of sight, did I reach for the mobile and send one of the best texts ever: "It's really happening.". I may have used slightly stronger language that than.
And so began the next part of the journey. I'm looking forward to meeting Lora again in a month or so, and hoping that, by then, we'll have even more exciting news to share. It may not happen, but I'm very hopeful.