My editor seems to have forgiven my apostrophe rant; he’s just called in two more stories. This sudden burst of paid activity is such a shock to my system; all of a sudden, 2009 is looking quite lucrative. If he keeps up this rash of commissions, it’ll be a bumper crop (here’s hoping – my jeans are getting really quite risque). Anyway, I am between interviews so I thought I’d attend to first things first with a post. My day started with a rectangular shadow under the front door: the first of Lilian’s books, arrived via Amazon. Marvellous! Appropriately enough, it’s her debut, The River Midnight. Her second novel, The Singing Fire, should be hot on its heels. Lilian posted an excerpt from The River Midnight on her blog a little while ago, and I thought, ‘That’s it, this is ridiculous,’ promptly ordering them both from Amazon before anything could get in my way. Easy, in the event. And it was so exciting opening the door and seeing the package there on my modest threshold, knowing it was one of Lilian’s books. As far as I’ve been able to discover, neither one is readily available in Australia, but the World Wide Web, it doth provide.
As soon as I have dispensed with The Book Thief – which I’ve finally worked up to after my WWII glut a short while back, after which I just couldn’t face it – it’s on to The River Midnight. It’s by the bed in anticipation; I can’t wait. I honestly didn’t expect to make “blogging friends” when I started DoctorDi – I didn’t know what would happen, let alone what a “blogging friend” might mean – but here you all are, so lovely, so supportive, so present in my life, and it’s incredibly pleasing – it makes me positively gleeful – having a novel in my house that one of you actually wrote. People get their thrills in such a lot of different ways, and this ranks highly among mine.
In other thrilling writing news, a second Darkling is on track to be offered representation with Australia’s largest and oldest literary agency; they’ve requested JB’s full MS. Not bad, huh? A year ago, we were a week from meeting, and I can hardly believe all that’s happened since, so much of it positive (if not quite the full fairytale). It’s been an amazing ride so far, and I know you’ll join me in crossing all digits for JB as the Darkling assault continues apace. It’s enough to make one feel like one’s letting the side down, but I dare to hope that one day… well, one day. Let’s leave it at that for now, shall we, and instead cheer those whose day has already arrived.
Finally, I had coffee first thing this morning with my Man Town writer friend L. She’s off to Paris on Monday (yes, I do hate her, most sincerely), so no joint writing days at Chez J for a few weeks, that is unless Darkling C is up from the Gong (speaking of which, the final countdown has begun for the next Darkling writing retreat, timed just after the one year anniversary of our Varuna residency and taking place over a week at beautiful Cottage Point – I am ITCHING with excitement now we’re on the home stretch). I’m sure Paris will pulse with inspiration – let’s face it, it’s what Paris does – and L shall return (kicking and screaming, I expect) sporting not only a très chic new Parisian hairdo, but an expression of fierce determination. That promises to be no end of fun; even when L’s hopping mad, overworked, stressed out of her mind, or declaring herself The Pretty One in an ongoing and riotously amusing sibling rivalry stoush, she’s always laughing. Her younger sister – the unwitting opponent in the aforementioned contest – has beaten L to the bookstore, her first (non-fiction) book due for its North American release in late December. Naturally L is livid. Bursting with pride and violence in just about equal measure. Meanwhile, younger sister’s insights into the Canadian publishing industry are fascinating and flat-out hilarious (it obviously runs in the family), and, after regaling me with more tales from the other side, L put it to me that I would do better to try my luck overseas – she’s thinking particularly of trying to get an agent in the US – instead of sending the MS out here in Australia (which I’m not even doing at the moment because, well, you know why).
Now, I have very mixed feelings about this, and part of it is ignorance. I don’t really know how it all works, here or elsewhere, but as an Australian writer with a MS set in Australia, and as someone who desperately, desperately wants to support and be part of the Australian publishing industry, I’ve just always imagined the best home for Spill is the same as mine. That’s not to suggest I don’t have elaborate fantasies of international acclaim – that would be a gigantic porky pie – only that in my reverie, it all starts right here, at home, where I know a big part of me will always belong. It seems a bit counterintuitive, and worse – ungracious, or even ungrateful – contemplating approaching American agents instead of ones right here in Sydney. It honestly hadn’t occurred to me before. It also feels a bit, um, arrogant, although I couldn’t easily tell you why. L could see how uneasy the conversation was making me, my eyes kept sliding away from hers, everything out on the street was suddenly fascinating, but she persisted in that peculiarly confident North American way until I started wondering if maybe I have been barking up the wrong tree… except ours are gum, and so help me, I love ’em.