Finally. I´m sitting at my laptop looking out over the pool under an azure Portuguese sky trying to keep Puggie the one-eyed cat off the keyboard, even though he’s probably better at typing than me. I´ve never been retired before and it´ll take some getting used to the fact that I can no longer define myself by my job and when someone asks me what I do, I can say, ‘Nothing…except a bit of writing now and then.’ Then they’ll change the subject.
After so much emotional preparation, leaving Germany was more a matter of filling in time between the removal men leaving and my flight the following day. I stayed with my neighbour Alastair; Marion and Jupp invited us to an al fresco meal and it was a lovely final evening. The next morning I walked to the bus stop and took a final look over the valley that had been my home for seven years. We parted friends.
OK, back to the writing and an update on the progress of Flight Into Darkness from cradle to grave. My agent has not had any luck with three of the bigger publishing houses. Now you will be thinking, ‘Oh yes, that´s so typical…just the arbitrary subjective nature of the publishing business…moan, moan…conspiracy…etc…’ However, I must point out that the independent feedback from each representative was absolutely objective and exactly the same. Spooky, eh? So, the bottom line is that this genre cannot afford to let the pace decelerate, even a bit. Nothing serious, mind, more a matter of polishing but it’s an indication that, when a manuscript is sent to a publisher, it needs to be absolutely perfect if it is to compete with the likes of John Grisham or Ken Follett. The solution is to have my editor Debi Alper have another look at it and turn it from 99.9% to 100%. In fact,as I am always in a rush, she never saw the revised draft, so there’s a moral there somewhere. The search for perfection never lets up, it seems, but it´s all new to me and I happily accept it as part of the learning process. If this novel ever attains perfection, believe me, it will have been a team effort!