Thursday, 11 February 2010


Well, it's gone. My novel, for better or worse, is now sitting in the in-trays of the depressingly small number of people who publish children's YA fiction. According to my agent, they've been asked to respond within a month. Of course, it doesn't take that long to type NO, but now now, Taylor – let's be positive. John le CarrĂ© says that 'spying is mostly waiting'. Writing is too. Fortunately, I've got my toenails to move onto while I wait for my fingernails to grow back.

Anyone reading this blog who feels in any way warmly disposed to me and my writing career, might like to start crossing their fingers from now. Please. No pressure, just... please.

I had a very uncool, fist-shaking 'xxxxing hell!' moment recently when I discovered that Puffin were about to launch TimeRiders by Alex Scarrow, the first in a series of books about time travelling secret agents who defend the past against those who wish to distort it. But after raging at my computer for a bit, I calmed down and realised that this is probably a positive thing. After all, it surely means that time travel is getting some serious attention in the publishing world, which can't hurt. The word Zeitgeist might amuse anyone here who has read my novel and knows German. In any case, as far as I can gather the similarities are fairly superficial, though I must read TimeRiders pronto.

Later on I realised that this coincidence probably means an automatic rejection from Puffin, which is a less happy thought. Oh, well. To head off a return of the grumps, I've just been on You Tube to look for something to cheer myself up. You might like what I found. Yes, I know that laughing at people who can't ski falling down in the snow is very, very sad, but still...


  1. I'll cross my fingers and toes for you!
    I remember feeling similarly a few years ago, when a new TV show called HEROES came out here in the US (which was similar to my WIP). I've avoided the show for a few years now. But now that some time has passed, I think it might be a good idea to actually try watching it.
    Best of luck!

  2. I have my fingers and toes crossed for you, Thomas and I hope you get a positive result soon.

    No grumps! Positive thinking only - though I can understand your grumpiness at seeing that someone else has published a book on similar theme to your own! C'est la vie! But I think you're right - it just shows the trend is pointing towards time travel!

    All the best


  3. Good luck Thomas! I'll cross my fingers for you. And a month! I'm green with envy. I think maybe 2 editors got back to my agent within the first month. Mostly we just wait, and check in, and wait some more.

  4. Thank you!

    Anita, the first season of Heroes is great fun, but it doesn't hold up much after that. It's a pain though, isn't it, when it looks like everyone will think you're copying. It's good to hear I'm not alone.

    Julie, yes, c'est la vie. En effet:)

    Natalie, I know from experience that that month could easily become two. After all, I'm hardly going to cry 'too late' and snatch my ms back!

    Thanks for crossing all those fingers and toes:-)

  5. "But the waiting time my brothers is the hardest time of all" (Sarah Doudney)
    Start the next book now Thomas!

  6. Fingers still crossed! It has to be a trend. I can only imagine the waiting.

    Open a bottle of champagne. Nothing else makes you feel like, all is right with the world, like nice a bubbly.

  7. My apologies Thomas, I know how annoying that can be! Take it as a positive....that there IS an interest in Time travel. Also bear in mind there's room enough for more than one time travel series in the YA market. Far more than there is room for High School Vampire romps.


    Alex Scarrow (TimeRiders)

  8. Wow! Hello -- no need to apologise, Alex. I've just ordered your book.

    yes, plenty of room for time travel it seems. So let's send those tooth-brushing vampires back where they belong: the fifteenth century.

  9. Sorry, Keren, Cat and Terry -- I didn't see you there. Yes, Champagne's a good idea, and it costs a lot less where I live too. Virtual glasses all round, whatever may happen.

  10. All crossables are duly crossed - it's a bit difficult typing with my eyes crossed soI'll use my fingers - sending you positive vibes!

    I just read on another blog someone chatting about their latest WIP which is strikingly similar to a novel I wrote 5 years ago! Aaargh - still not got mine published! Hey ho.

    I suppose it's bound to happen but I don't want to go grey just yet!

    Best of luck - cheers!

  11. Well I've just dried my eyes after watching the skiing link, I think I've done every one of those embarrassing moments, so glad no-one had a video camera then!
    You don't need me to tell you here just how much luck and love is being projected across the Channel (save some Champagne for me!) xxx

  12. Best of luck - I'm sure this one will find a home very soon.

  13. Thank you all! Especially since typing with crossed fingers is a real pain in the nose:)

  14. Thomas ! Thomas ! Thomas ! Forwards. Not backwards. Shoulder's back, lovely boy ! Hilary. xxxxx xxxxx
    xxxxx xxxxx

  15. Hilary, You're exhausting! But thank you.

  16. Congratulations on the publication of your book!

    I think you're right about riding a time-travel wave. Isn't there a movie out right now about time travel in the US? Maybe you guys are like the next YA vampire writers...

  17. Thanks, Theresa, but let's not get ahead of ourselves -- my novel is out on submission only, and has a hurdle or two to trip over yet. But thanks anyway:)

  18. Hi Thomas - good luck with the submission process....I know that fretting - my novel is out to publishers too (adult fiction) and has had a couple of thanks but no thanks so far...I am a nervous wreck. I find alcohol helps. Hope you have some positive news soon so your nails survive. (I live near Norwich - is that where you're from?) Love your illustrations and blog, by the way.


  19. Hi, Marie-Jane

    Alcohol certainly helps! That and frenzied housework and streetwalking. Good luck with your novel. Let me know how it goes.

    Yes, I'm from Norwich, though I lived in Wales for years too. I won't ask exactly where you are, but my family live on the Broads.

    Thanks for commenting


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