A rare moment of public emotion: In 2013 my novel Beastings, which I had re-written seven times over three years, was sent out to publishers. Only one believed in it – Kevin and Hetha Duffy at Bluemoose Books, to whom I am eternally grateful. The ten big/mainstream publishers all flatly rejected it, saying they only signed books that would get on prize lists.
Beastings has since won the Northern Writers’ Awards, been longlisted for the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize and, just announced today, shortlisted for the Portico Prize For Fiction. I say this only to communicate that writing fiction has put me in various states of poverty and anxiety. I survive through journalism, selling possessions and the encouragement of good people – and a love of reading and writing.
It’s a constant battle to get read, and I’m never out on what Quentin Crisp called “the smiling and nodding circuit”. Just can’t do it. I’ve not even been drunk for 12 years. Instead I’m at home in the Upper Calder Valley, Yorkshire writing the next one and the next one and the next one. Occasionally though there is a glimmer of hope.
And at least I’m not Morrissey.
I intend to become (even more of) a literary recluse. I have the next five books planned out. Two of them finished.
Thanks to anyone who continues to show interest.