Being a ‘V’ has generally meant missing out: being last on any list at school, that sort of thing. So finding myself next to Kurt Vonnegut in Waterstone’s was no small recompense. When the assistant had gone I moved Virginia Woolf along a little, sandwiching me nicely among greats.
Just to apologise to those who’ve emailed saying either Amazon or the Book Depository have been tardy in delivering The Method to you. It’s a distribution thingy apparently. They’re out of stock for a few days now, until the next print run gets to them, but if this continues I’ll hand deliver one and make you a cuppa, and perhaps bring biscuits. Failing that, I have a few signed copies left (see sidebar), which I suspect fit in festive stockings.
I’ve been delighted, and occasionally overwhelmed, by the wonderful feedback and initial reviews the book’s received. Once the euphoria of publication ebbed away, the issue of how it would be regarded arose, and so far people seem to like it.
Not had a definitive response from the agent about the novel yet, though he did email me half way through to say he was enjoying it. Hopefully if it’s not for him, I’ll still get some feedback.
And so it’s time to turn to the Next Big Thing. Or two things in one, possibly. It’s almost impossible, unless you’re a Zadie or a DBC, to make a living from writing literary fiction alone, and so a job what pays cold hard cash beckons. I’ve loved the small amount of teaching I’ve done so far, but permanent lecturing posts tend to require a doctorate these days. (A book out helps, but is increasingly not enough.) But it happens that the next novel is forming nicely in my mind, that most exciting of phases when everything – characters, setting, era, structure – is all up for grabs, and so a PhD in creative writing seems the next logical step. I must be mad.
Coming soon…The brilliant Jonathan Lee talks about five contemporary novels he loves. The equally fabulous Jenn Ashworth. And the Scott Prize winners discuss the short story.