I’ve had another crazily busy week. Back on Monday and Tuesday, I was delighted to make a start on Book Two which is set at Christmas. Those of you who know me will realise that writing a festive book is right up my street. Then I discovered there was a problem in the very first chapter of book one that needed to be resolved. As happens sometimes, the solution came to me just as I had retired to bed. Of course I had to get up and work through it immediately. Otherwise my mind would be bounding around all night like Zebedee in the Magic Roundabout.
Anyway, to continue the story of how I got here, I have to go back to the end of August. I had sent my two chapters to Victoria on the 30th. I didn’t have long to wait. On 5th September I received a message, offering me the commission to write Summer at Hope Meadows.
I’m honestly not sure whether my main reaction was excitement or panic. After so many years trying to find a way into the world of professional writing, here it was, almost within my grasp. It was a lot to get my head around. I had always assumed I would be taken on by an agent who liked one of my books. They would take me on as a client and they would then present my manuscript to publishers. It would all be a slow process.
Instead, here I was, being offered a commission to write an 80-90,000 word book in less than three months. Even if I was to write every single day, Monday to Friday every week, that would require that I should write 1,250 words a day. I had never written more than 1,000 words per day before. Any time I had tried, I had quickly lost momentum.
Worse still, I had just signed a contract with the Norwegian Food Standards Agency to work full time for the whole of September and October. I hadn’t told Victoria, because I didn’t want to give them any additional reasons to reject me. But could I actually manage it?
Victoria had also asked me to make some changes to the first two chapters. Although she loved them, there were some stylistic changes I would have to make. There were one or two places where I had the perspective wrong. “Third person limited perspective” (yup, me neither!) was what I had to aim for. Some of the characters weren’t quite canon either. Fortunately Victoria’s instructions about how to fix the problems were very clear.
Regardless, this was my big chance. If I didn’t take it, I would be back wading into the slush pile. Pulling on my metaphorical wellies, I jumped right in.