My agent, Hannah Ferguson, sent my novel Mrs Sinclair’s Suitcase out to eight publishers in May 2012 and one by one, they rejected it. One editor was interested and we got as far as meeting up in London. It was an exciting moment and she had lots of editorial suggestions for me, which I went home and worked on … only to find that, for me, some of the ideas were not quite right. I would have ended up with a very different story from the one I was trying to write. Some of the ideas were great, and I did use one or two of them, so it was a useful meeting and I’m grateful for the input from that editor. It just wasn’t quite the perfect match I think we writers need.
Undeterred, because you can never be deterred in publishing, Hannah submitted my novel to another batch of editors in September 2012. This time around, things sounded more hopeful – there were no rejection e-mails within days. Hannah did e-mail me to say a couple of editors were interested and it was the kind of novel they were looking for.
The waiting became almost unbearable until, one morning in October 2012, my telephone rang and it was Hannah. I knew it had to be good news because we usually communicated by e-mail. She sounded excited too! She told me we had a one book deal with Hodder and Stoughton. I couldn’t believe it. “You’re going to be a published writer,” Hannah told me, “Congratulations.”
I was ecstatic and in shock, and I didn’t really take in everything Hannah told me, so she followed up with an e-mail with all the details. I’m going to keep that e-mail forever.
It was a great day, one of the best of my life, and it was lovely to share the excitement with Hannah, and later my husband Ian, and my children. Ian bought champagne on his way home from work and we drank it in celebration that evening.
Louise's first novel, Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase, is out now.