Even before the Frankfurt Book Fair, the nibble turned into a bite: Bertelsman, the German publishing giant, wanted Of Marriageable Age, and my Foreign Rights agent closed a very nice deal with them.
During the Fair itself, she closed small but for me exciting deals with Danish, Spanish and French publishers. She was particularly pleased with the French offer; not that it was high (it wasn’t), but because the French were picky and very rarely bought British or American books; they’re literary snobs. There’s a saying in publishing, she said: if every other country wants a book, the French don’t; and if the French want it, nobody else does. The latter proved to be half-true in my case: that was it with foreign contracts, and even a Swedish nibble turned into a no-thanks. But I was more than pleased.
I’d been warned that now a long period of silence would set in, and that’s waht happened. The only thing to break that silence was the arrival of my cover. It had a mysterious background of a garden scene in orange light, with a big blue butterfly above it, butterflies being the symbol for the stoty. I loved it, and so did everyone else.
Another little stir of excitement: a reader asspcoated with bernardo Bertolucci had writtento say she loved OMA and had passed it on. My agent warned me: it could easily come to nothing, but even getting this far was a huge step. Just don’t build any castles in the sky.
Meanwhile, I was welll into my second novel, and that helped pass the time and cool my nerves till the Big Day.