I used to dream about getting that first book deal. I knew
exactly what I would do. I’d jump in the air with sheer utter joy and ring all
my friends and family. Then I would go and sing from the hilltops with my dog
and children beside me.
In the event, it all happened very differently. After ten
years of writing a novel a year (three of which very nearly got published), I
was vacuuming the sitting room, when my then-agent rang.
“We’ve got four publishers interested,” he told me. “But one
has just offered. I think we should take it.”
I took a deep breath. The timing couldn’t have been more
poignant. For the previous five years, my marriage had been struggling and was
now at breaking point. The implications of being on my own with three children
were so huge that I could barely eat or drink. How ironic that I should finally
achieve my life dream when life was shattering around me.
I stood there, vacuum cleaner abandoned at my feet (did I
mention that I loathe housework?), trying to take it in. None of this seemed
real. Not the five figure, two-book deal that the publisher was offering. Or
its invitation to meet the team. I knew I should feel excited but I didn’t. Nor
did it seem appropriate to ring my husband.
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. It was a friend
from the village, wondering if I fancied a walk. So I told her and the thrill
on her face, kick-started my emotions. I felt vindicated that finally, after
all this hard work, I was being recognised. The book (“The School Run” written
under my other pen name Sophie King) became a best seller. Four years later, I
married a man who loves housework.