Hurry up and wait

After the frantic revisions to Flight Into Darkness, I got an email from Peter Buckman’s office saying that he is on holiday for two weeks!  Oh well, holidays are an entitlement, not a privilege, I suppose but he will need a new best-seller to pay for next year’s vacation!

I am keen, however, that FID, being a very current novel ‘of this moment’ should not pass its sell-by date.  If the Iranians block the Straits of Hormuz, I don’t think it’ll affect the plot, but if the Israelis launch a nuclear attack on Iran, it would.  I recall hearing West-End impressario Cameron Mackintosh talking about the end of the cold war.  It coincided with his east-west cold war musical ‘Chess’ and he was shit-scared that world events would affect its success.  They did, of course.  Please don’t let this happen to Flight Into Darkness!

I don’t think it’ll happen but am aware that getting a novel into print is a long-term process.  After the year it takes to refine to a point where an agent picks it up, we then have to go through the process of revising it in the light of his market feedback.  Ok, this has been done.  Now, when…or if…it gets picked up by a publisher, the process starts apparently all over again until they have a book that they think the market will go for.  Then they have to do the advance marketing and plan a launch.  This may be a muted affair for an unpublished writer and the priority may be low for them.  When they can make a million by publishing the life story of some wannabe Sun celeb with big tits or some inarticulate moron who can kick a football, why take the risk with a book that might get their HQ bombed?

Celeste did a bacalhau dish last might.  Very Portuguese.  Bacalhau is a staple of the Portuguese dinner table.  It’s salted cod that can be stored forever and comes from a time before the fridge.  For Portugal that was probably about twenty years ago.  Anyway, you buy it in great salty slabs from the fishmonger who slices it up with a guillotine, as if he was chopping wood.  You then soak it for two days to get rid of the salt, although this never seems to be entirely successful.  The result, regardless how it’s cooked, is tough and salty and tastes a bit like soggy Bombay Duck (Indian dried fish).  Actually, not that palatable and bearing little resemblance to the moist, succulent cod that we are used to in England.  The funny thing is that this Portuguese staple actually all comes from Norway, from the Lofoten islands, as cod is not caught here any more.  I’d love to taste fresh cod again.  Oh, for an English chippie!

So, with the novel it’s hurry up and wait.  I think I’ll go off to a pastelaria and have some coffee and Portuguese yummies.  Not bacalhau, though.

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5 Responses to Hurry up and wait

  1. Anonymous says:

    Roger,
    I wish you well; you are writing for a small minority. 99 out of 100 people want to know about celebs. It is their life.
    Where I live, I despair. I think anything intelligent is frowned upon in case it makes people realise how nasty and corrupt is their leadership. Celebs keep the masses happy. .

  2. Alanboy says:

    Sorry. I put my name in the wrong place. It’s the effect of karaoke on my sensitive ears..

  3. rogerjhardy says:

    Nothing wrong with Karaoke; at least the celebrants are taking part in something rather than sitting, fat, dumb and happy, watching other people live their lives. I have some friends who go to the Philippines regularly and their brains have been similarly addled!

  4. Catherine Gandolfi says:

    Roger,
    I will recommend your blog to our (teenager) daughter who also wants to publish a book for children. On the bacalhau subject, maybe you want to know that there is a similar dish in Nice-France. It also probably comes from Norway and it is called “stockfish” (http://www.cuisinenicoise.fr/recettes%20nicoises/Stockfish.htm) (pronounced Estocafic). The sailors probably left the recipe all around the Mediterranean see.

  5. rogerjhardy says:

    Bice to hear froim you and thanks for the recipe! Bacalhau gets everywhere but, in Portugal, stockfish is normally fresh, not salted and it´s not cod. On the subject of writing, I use the services of the Writer´s Workshop (link on this blog). I assume yiour daughter writes in French, so there must be a French equivalent. Having a good editor and getting a good agent are the essential elements to getting published. The children´s market in UK is very difficult to get into and the profits are low…unless you are J K Rowling!

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