This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
One rainy April afternoon last year, I was sitting at the kitchen table reading Novelicious. It featured an interview with a literary agent called Madeleine Milburn. It was a fascinating interview and unlike many agents who talk about piles of unsolicited submissions with annoyance, Madeleine was keen to find new writing and cited Maggie O’Farrell, a big influence of mine, as the kind of style she was looking for. So I decided to take a chance and emailed a cover letter, the first three chapters and a synopsis of my novel Soho, 4am to Madeleine that afternoon. Then I walked away from the computer and reminded myself that the odds of my getting an agent were about the same as winning the lottery or flying to the moon: very small indeed. But then the most incredible thing happened: an hour later Madeleine got back to me requesting the rest of the novel. My stomach churned as I pressed ‘send’ and saw my manuscript head out into the ether – it felt like I had just sent my child off to school for the first day.
I spent the rest of the night trying not to get my hopes up; telling myself that Madeleine would probably send a polite ‘thanks but no thanks’ and that would be that. So when I got a reply the next morning, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Madeleine said she had spent the whole evening reading it and it had made her cry. Would I like to be represented by her? Well, after I had peeled myself off the ceiling I emailed her straight back and accepted!
After that I worked with Madeleine to get the manuscript into tip-top shape for her to send out to publishers and two months later I signed a two-book deal with the brilliant Jo Dickinson at Quercus. The email came through when I was visiting my parents and I was sitting in my father’s study, the place I used to sit for hours as a child reading. And there, surrounded by those same books, I sat and took in those words: ‘A two-book publishing deal’ for my own novels.
The following banner is an affiliate one. That means Writing Tips Oasis receive a small % of the sale if you purchase The Novel Factory, but at no extra cost to you:
It really has been a dream come true and some days I still have to pinch myself that this has become a reality. It is strange but you only feel you can truly call yourself a writer once you have been published, although that shouldn’t be the case. I do remember, however, the withering looks some people would give me when I told them I was writing a novel – it was almost as though I had told them I planned to man a solo flight to Mars but I also remember looking longingly at books, those strange objects that I have treasured since being a little girl and wishing that one day I could hold one with my name on the front and my story inside.
And now that dream has come true.Nuala Casey’s first novel Soho, 4am is out now!