Research

Ruth Estevez - Paris 1I love research, it can take over so that all you do is learn more and more about your subject and don’t actually get on with writing, but when it feeds your work and enriches it, and is enjoyable in its own right, then wow, double winner.
At the moment, I’m researching 1920’s Paris and have been doing for some time. Due to the children’s art books that I researched last year and the one before, Art has crept into the Perfume book, because many great artists lived in Paris at this time. I’ve just read Henry Miller’s ‘Quiet Days in Clichy’ because The Portico Library where I work in town had been donated a beautiful old copy with photographs and I read the first pages, but needed a copy of my own. Of course, it comes without photos in the usual published versions, but I learnt a great deal about Pigalle and living conditions. (Also read George Orwell before Christmas) And an hour ago, I finished Ernest Hemingway’s ‘A Moveable Feast’ about his time in Paris in the early 1920’s. I’ve spoken about connections before, and when that happens if feels as if everything is meant to be. So, linking the Portico with Miller and Hemingway with the Perfume book (title in flux at the moment) and the Cuba book I’m planning on writing next. So, this summer in Cuba, I’m going to visit Hemingway’s haunts to get more of a feel of the man. And I have a list of his books to read. Loving it.

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Two posts in one day!!

Such a weird day. I’m under the weather and struggling emotionally today, a lot by what’s being thrown up by what I’m writing and then the brilliant NHS being sold off and just aghhh. But the writing, this perfume book I’m working on is bringing up stuff about family, love, life…aghhhhhhh…and what’s so odd is, the writing is flowing so well, really well and yet tears are rolling down my face!! So weird. And I’m posting twice today, when I haven’t been posting much recently.
Well, Agent Jane got back to me again…

From Simon and Schuster:

Hi Jane,
Your email the other day reminded me that I hadn’t yet come back to you on the below – apologies. I really liked the setting – I grew up near Robin Hood’s Bay so know the area well. And the dynamic between the characters is great. But I have quite a lot of historical on my list at the moment and so I feel there’s not quite the space for it here, sadly.
Thanks so much for sharing it with me though, and I hope you find Ruth a great home.
All best wishes, as always,
Clare

And this is after another publisher saying that historical fiction is too hard to sell.
But we know this is the way, don’t we?

So the question is, do I go dancing tonight and leave my head behind by going with the physical?

Second Publisher’s Response

Agent Jane has got back to me with news from a second publisher, ‘Piatkus.’

‘I’ve now finished reading Jiddy Vardy and although I think it’s extremely interesting, unfortunately it just doesn’t quite fit Piatkus. It’s such a fascinating story and very well written, but a little quiet and slow-building for us, I think it would just get lost on the list.’

Mmmm. So, differing from Transworld who thought historical fiction is too difficult to sell.

The option: Crack on. And if you’re wondering why I’m posting these publisher’s responses, it’s so I don’t hide and for other writers who are receiving rejections right now, it’s interesting to compare responses and well, I suppose I want it put down for the record.

Endings

Endings. We usually want endings to be satisfying, conclusive. We can feel cheated if not. We’ve taken time to read the book so the ending must deliver a completion to the story.

With the Perfume book, the Coty book – the story of Tessa’s journey, I had the ending. But then, it didn’t seem to fit, it wasn’t her ending, she hadn’t brought it about. So I was overjoyed for it to twist and eureka!! That was the right true end. Or was it? Funny how what we pick up from things we hear, other projects, stuff we read or see, shifts our thinking. Funny how the art books for children I researched have found their way into the world of perfume. Maybe this is why a book we once wrote, we would never write again as we have changed, our ideas and view of life has altered. So, last night, a third ending surfaced and this is The One. It is right. It is progression. It is where Tessa needs to be.

Hallelujah!!!