I write the final lines of Only a Hero Will Do, gulp back the emotion, and a glass of chardonnay, to celebrate this poignant moment.
My contentment is to last only a week as I grapple with the dreaded synopsis. I refer to the submission requirements of the publishers and agents which I have decided to target and my heart sinks. It is not one synopsis that is needed but several of the wretched things – ranging in length from a couple of paragraphs to five pages. I write three versions, read them through, and hate them all. Arrgh! How do I convey the essence of my book in a few sentences – impossible! Lots of head scratching and prevaricating ensues.
Two months pass by and my progress with my second book is about fifty words. My imagination has gone into hibernation bogged down with synopsis and letters and yes —rejection. Why does no one want my novel? In fact, why does no one want to read it to decide they don’t want it?
Am I disheartened? –You bet. Do I give up? – No. I distinctly remember someone in the literary field telling me, ‘The difference between a published and unpublished writer is the fact the published writer didn’t give up.’
I grit my teeth and try harder.
I spend a pleasant day at Winchester Writers’ Conference and confront a couple of agents face to face. They are quite nice, so I take back some of my blackest thoughts on the species, and bask in their advice and encouragement. They like the book and suggest a little polish and perseverance is needed. So I go back home and do just that before sending out a new batch of submissions.
Then a breakthrough! A request to see the whole manuscript. My pulse quickens and smile broadens, but I must not allow myself to get too excited …until Musa Publishing send me an email which makes my day – No! makes my last two years actually. They offer me a contract.
Warm smug feeling pushes me into full throttle and I progress with second book whilst waiting to be contacted by my editor. My confidence is overflowing and my fingertips sweep over the keyboard in a tide of creativity and excitement.
Warm smug feeling disappears as my editor sends first edits back. The changes required make my manuscript look like a map of the underground. Grinding teeth and muttering filthy words I prepare for an unexpected period of intense rewriting.
Anyway, as I slog away rewriting and rephrasing my discontent blossoms into appreciation as my book is moulded into a professional and much more polished format. My editor is clearly very smart and extremely rigorous.
Then in January a cruel and dastardly event occurs. I will give you a clue – it is spookily Friday the 13th.
Completely unscripted I manage to fall down the stairs and break my arm. I am now wracked with pain – physically and mentally as my precious release date floats past and the book is put on hold.
But as I am a romantic author there has to be a happy ending, so Fast Forward to May, and Musa, being very understanding and extremely efficient, set a new release date. I have a new and equally ruthless editor who expertly steers me through second edits and on to publication.
So here it is finally, resting on the virtual bookshelves at;
Hetty’s desperate gamble to avoid an odious match lands her all at sea. Can an overbearing ship’s physician really be the hero she needs to escape her treacherous family …
Read more about Only a Hero Will Do at www.susanlodge.com