Sunday, March 18, 2012

March 18th

First editorial note from New York: Change the title. Well, I should have seen that one coming - it's happened before.  So, the title was "Dunadd," because, as I say I have written quite  a few novels, and I was hoping to be able to name some of those (and future ones) after place names around where I grew up. The novel is set at Dunadd Fort in Argyll, but it involves time travel.  The best I have come up with is   "Parallel Lives." If anyone wants to go to my website at

(google won't bring it up yet, but you can get there by putting in the full address) you can read a longer synopsis of the novel and pour in your suggestions - even from Russia, because my audience map  tells me I have a few readers over there! (Very cool, as Americans would say.) There is a "contact me" page on my website.
Having to change a title, especially if it has been your working title for a long time, can be tough. I was actually asked to change another of my titles by my agent. That one was called "Duntrune" (another place name!), and we changed it to "The Country Between Us." I like that new title, but I still always think of that book as "Duntrune" (in fact, that's the way I list it on the website.)
If you go to my website, you'll see that my agent's name is Esmond Harmsworth of Zachary, Shuster, Harmsworth in New York.  My only access to agents for years was through a local Writers Conference, and I trundled myself along every summer to talk to the few agents I had booked. It was a very slow process, and there are probably faster ways, but I wasn't free to travel around the country looking for literary agents, so I had to wait until they came to me. Lots of agents seemed interested, some very interested, but after a few months of back and forth it would come to nothing. And then, Esmond, bless his heart, uttered the immortal words, "Boy, you really know how to write," and we were off!  "How much of my novel do you want to read?" I wrote to him after the conference. "I want the lot!" he replied. Again, words a writer longs to hear. Esmond is a Brit, which I think has a lot to do with his being tuned into my writing. My books should really be published in Britain first, but the publishers I talked to over there seemed to be following the trend of opting for quirky books rather than "romantic" books  - I say "romantic," not in the Mills and Boon or Harlequin sense, but in that they are not hard-edged like "Trainspotting," or its ilk. I am one of those hopeless romantics in the way I see the world, and especially in the way I see my country.

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