Tuesday, 3 February 2015

A book in flight

Yesterday was a significant day for me. I sent my new novel out into the world on the wings of an email. The laptop even made that little whooshing noise to signify that my book had finally flown the nest. My domestic thriller about a woman trapped in a ruinous marriage in 1970s Jakarta was off to make its fortune... perhaps.

Balinese dancer
My new novel, The Puppet Master, is
inspired by my childhood in Indonesia
I have been writing this new novel, The Puppet Master, off and on for nearly eight years and earlier this month I decided it was finally time to send it off to a few literary agents. As I published my first novel, A Sister for Margot, independently, the decision to venture once more down the traditional route has caused some angst. Would I be able to deal with all those rejections when they come bouncing back?

Hope is my antidote. The Puppet Master has enjoyed rave reviews from my harshest critics (my husband and my mum) so I'm feeling confident... or at least I was until I pressed the 'send' icon on the email. Whoosh! and suddenly the doubts came crowding in. Should have done one more edit, should have tightened up the third chapter, should have waited a bit longer... damn it!


Carpe librum!


I try to teach my children not to be afraid of failure, but have I learnt myself to deal with setbacks? Rejection hurts (and especially so when you kick a cupboard barefoot as I did the last time someone turned me down). But then that hackneyed phrase comes back to haunt me: nothing ventured, nothing gained. The trick is to kid yourself into feeling a little bit heroic. Look at me - I've sent my book off to three literary agents - how very daring! Carpe diem, carpe librum!

Over the next few months, I will no doubt spin through this cycle of optimism and self-reproach more times than a tumble-drier. At the very least, I should feel alive in an emotional sense - if hope, dread and self-absorption can be interpreted as vital signs. So it's adieu little book and fare thee well in the big old world outside my laptop. Just don't forget to call home once in a while.

To read an extract of  The Puppet Master, click here.

To read comments about this post on Facebook, click here.



FURTHER READING

A Sister for Margot by Emma Clark Lam
A wartime romance between an actress and a naval officer has repercussions forty years later when Ruby, an orphaned teenager, goes in search of her missing relative.