Monday, 10 April 2006

Velo-gubbed Legs & Feedback on Novel

I slept for twelve hours last night, but my legs feel eaten by giant moths and I haven't been near a velo. The swan found dead in Fife last week, I imagined it shivering and terrified, dying alone. The first chapter of my novel has a dead seagull in it. The main character has ME. It took me almost seven years, I finished it early 2005. It was hugely important and therapeutic for me to write this book. I found an agent who loved the book, said I was the 'real deal', but was adamant she wanted to pitch it as fictionalised memoir instead of a novel. Agents are like gold-dust, so I allowed myself to be seduced, although I was pretty reluctant to do so (I realised later she represents mainly non-fiction, maybe that is why she was so adamant - but my book is an autobiographical novel, not a fictionalised memoir). And the editors, while most of them greatly admired the writing, felt that a book by an unknown writer, which, in their eyes, falls between literary fiction and memoir would be tricky to market, the scariest words a writer can hear, almost worse than 'I don't love you anymore'.

***update, book will be published in July 2008 by Harper Collins.

4 comments:

greenwords said...

I've been wondering: what on earth does 'velo-gubbed' mean? I guess it's because I'm an ignorant Australian, but I have no idea. I know what velo means, but not gubbed.
I am dead keen to read your book. I have often pondered the idea of a novel about ME and how much I'd love to read one. I hoped I wouldn't have to write it in order to read it though - so you've solved the problem neatly. ;-)
6 years to write, that's a long time. I am in complete awe that you managed to write a whole book. I can barely get a shopping list going, I'm so cognitively hopeless. However it gets published, by a big/small press or on lulu, I'll buy it for sure! I can't wait!

nmj said...

hey greenwords, was hard slog writing book, no doubt, & many tears were shed in the process, my arms were done in from typing, my head too, but the belief it would be published is what kept me going!... i often wonder too how i managed to write it from the cognitive impairment point of view;
'gubbed' is scottish slang for beaten, wrecked, broken, done-in, that kind of thing, can use it in many contexts.

darren said...

Finally, I know what velo-gubbed means! Persistence pays off - I've been going through the archives for two days, and am ignoring very bad John Travolta movie on TV right now in order to do so. Glad that Greenwords (Australian) was as ignorant as I (Canadian) about the Scottish slang.

Also, feel same as GW about need for novel dealing with ME (though realize yours is much more than that). Can't imagine how you did it. Laura Hillenbrand managed similarly miraculous feat with 'Seabiscuit' (also a 'must read').

NMJ said...

hey darren, i haven't read 'seabiscuit' (or seen the movie). have heard great things about both. laura hillebrand is severely ill, am full of admiration for her that she wrote this book. and it has done so well.