My debut novel Mrs Sinclair’s Suitcase was published in 2014. It did OK. The novel has respectable sales figures for a debut, it did particularly well in foreign rights and has been translated into 14 languages. Two of my foreign deals were for six-figure sums. In the UK, it was reviewed in the Times and the Daily Mail and in several women’s magazines. I assumed I would be a shoo-in for that “difficult second novel”.
But my (very difficult, as it turned out) second novel was turned down flat. Cue the disbelief, followed by the tears, then the ranting and raving, the why, why, why? And that was just my husband.
The obvious reason for its rejection is that it simply wasn’t good enough. Once I’d accepted this, I reworked much of it, changed the title, changed the plot. I still believed in my story. But what I really needed was a trusted editor to help me, someone to be patient, to give me some clues, some ideas and suggestions to help turn that early attempt into a publishable second novel. That’s exactly what had happened with my debut, and I’d naively thought it would happen again.