When a world-class writer asks if they can be of any use to you in redrafting your book, the answer is a resounding ‘Yes!’ Take my word for it.
After meeting and greeting and taking instruction from my agent, I toddled off home and wrote an e-mail to the writer who was instrumental in putting my book in my agent’s hands, and who has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize (3 times) and the Orange prize (twice). I sent the e-mail off to the writer’s publisher, in the hope that it might reach said writer one day.
Not only did it reach the writer almost immediately, said writer also replied by virtual return of post. I was very impressed. It was lovely to read the writer’s words of praise for the agent, and of encouragement for me. I took them to heart, and I’m very grateful.
Far above, and way beyond the call of duty, the writer also offered to e-mail me with thoughts and suggestions for “Naming Names” when it comes to rewrites. How generous is that?! I am staggered that a writer, who has nothing to gain by helping me in this way, should be so very kind.
Creators are extraordinary creatures. I’ve been around writers and artists for a long time, some very successful, others less so, some mainstream, others in smaller or more specialist marketplaces. To a man, and woman, they are endlessly charming, open, and giving. They are genuine fans of each others' work, and genuinely interested in what is happening in other artists’ heads. There is, from time to time, a little benign professional jealousy, as evidenced in the way some of the husband’s colleagues tease him, but I have never witnessed any form of meanness or malice.
I planned to be a writer one day a very long time ago, and the closer I get to fulfilling my ambition, the better I like the company I’m beginning to keep, and, if or when the time ever comes, I hope that it will be in my power to help other first-time writers up the slippery slope that is the climb to publication.