Now the fun starts!

I have just finished writing “Song of the Nightingale” – my second novel – that tells the story of two young boys in 18th century Italy who are bought from their families by a count, castrated and then taught to sing as castrati. It is told from the point of view of the count’s secretary, Philippe. Needless to say all does not end as expected. My sister has read it and says she likes it (she is the sister that hated one of my chapters, resulting in me totally rewriting it and producing a much better one).

I am the sort of writer that tries to perfect a chapter before going onto the next one, so although I did find a few typos when I read it through, again it was, as far as I am concerned, fundamentally OK. However, I decided to send it out for a professional review. I did this with my debut novel, “The Jewel Garden”. I sent it to Ben Smith (“Benjamin Smith” <>) and he made some really useful comments so I have sent SotN to him as well – the cost for the report is £195.

When he sends the report, (hopefully in a week or two), as long as there is no rewrite necessary (as there was with TJG ) I will send out to literary agents. When I sent out TJG I got a large number of rejections, but one of them did say they would be interested in SotN as she likes music. So I will send the 1st 3 chapters and the synopsis to her first, then if she is not interested (as I expect will be the case), send out to other agents. I would much prefer to have an agent or find a publisher myself, rather than self-publish – at the moment anyway.

I have a draft synopsis ready, but I need to refine it. As most writers, I find the synopsis really hard to write – it is incredibly difficult to summarise an 83,000 book into just a few hundred words, telling the main story without making is sound like a list  of “then this happens, than that happens……”

I’ve loved writing the book and I believe that it is really good – but if my experience with TJG is anything to go by, my confidence will be worn away with every rejection. One thing I am pretty confident about if that I will get a large number of them!

I will write another blog when I have something more to say.

Just an update on TJG – I am still trying to promote it and recently I have:

  1. Given a talk at Coventry Library about Mary De Morgan and the writing of TJG. This was the first time I did a talk so although there were only two people it gave me the confidence to do it again.
  2. Given an interview to Neil Wilkes of Coventry Culture Show on TJG, which was broadcast on Saturday 29th September. A pretty scary experience but again, it went better than I expected and boosted my confidence.
  3. Given an after dinner talk to the Guild at the Barr’s Hill 110th Anniversary dinner, telling them who Mary De Morgan was and how I came to write a novel about her. The attendees were all old Barr’s Hillians and were aged from 63 (me and another from my year) to 98. They were wonderful, bright, feisty women and it was a real honour to be asked to speak.
  4. I am giving a talk at Atherstone Library on TJG in January.

Small steps………

I have two projects I am about to start – one is to rewrite some of Mary De Morgan’s fairy tales for today’s children and the other is novel number 3 (more later).


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