Back in England – where I had now moved to with my daughter – things were also moving.
One fine day, my agent and editor came down from London to visit.
They came to my home, saw the corner where I worked; we went for a walk on the seafront .
After that, we had lunch at the Eastbourne’s posh Grand Hotel
We joked about what a great setting the Grand would be for a Victorian murder mystery.
Blood on the fine beige carpets! Or maybe the corpse woudl be found in the quaintly old-fashioned but luxious bathroom? (A few years later my agent told me that someone had indeed written a murder mystery set in the Grand..)
We talked for a while about my latest book, and where it was going. My editor seemed happy enough with it; though, as I’ve mentioned, I wasn’t. But I didn’t voice my doubts.
That would be rude.
Instead, we discussed my writing career.
My editor asked me how I saw myself – and my books – in five years time. I said I thought of the books as long-sellers rather than best-sellers. This was the right thing to say, for Of Marriageable Age was by no means a best-seller. Not in England, at any rate, and France didn’t count.
She nodded, and agreed with me. She then revealed her plans for me: she was going to build me slowly, book after book, until I had a “name”. And then there’d be a “major book” and a big bang.
It sounded exciting. She then spoke the words that I’d never forget: “Write what we want you to write for now, and when youre big you can write whatever you want.” I nodded eagerly.
They returned to London, I returned to my desk, hearing only the one word big, still believing in the dream,
After all, it had just been confirmed by the person who mattered the most, a senior editor at HarperCollins. My editor.
I was on my way up. I was going to be big.