A few days after visiting Agent B, the kids and I got on a plane to Trinidad. It was July 1998; we were visiting my parents in Guyana, but before that taking a short holiday with relatives in the Caribbean.
I was taking an afternoon nap, sleeping off my jet-lag on the first day of the holiday when The Next Call came. My cousin’s wife shook me awake. “it’s from England!” she said, “It’s urgent!”
I rushed to the phone. It was my agent.
“I’ve had an offer from HarperCollins,” she said, and named a figure than nearly made me faint.
“But I think we can do better. I want to take it to auction.” Noooooo! I wanted to scream. That’s fine! I’m not greedy, not at all! She rambled on, something about about “pre-empts” and “the floor”, of which I understood precisely nothing.
But all I could stutter – remember, I hadn’t had my coffee – was, “whatever you think best.”
She promised to get in touch with me.