So. It's done. As far as it can be for the time being.
While I didn't start officially writing the novel until 2014, I got the idea for it in 2007. The novel has - give or take - been in my life for just over ten years and is, quite frankly, the longest love affair I've ever had. I've lived and breathed this novel for four years, let it take over parts of my life at the cost of, well, a lot of things. Over the past eight months I've butchered it down to its bones, ripped the bloody remains of it to shreds, and built it all up again word by word, paragraph by painstaking paragraph, and created something I truly think is richer for having done so. But there comes a point in every writer's life where you have to be brutally honest about the lifespan of an idea. It's taken me a long time to come to terms with it but the truth is, Enough Is Enough.
In a few weeks I'm going to be sending the novel for it's third agent round and if, after all this effort it is not picked up, then I shall put it to bed. I shall shelve it. I have such a strong belief in this story and in the characters, not just because they are historical figures but because of what they represent. INFELICE is a story of human emotion: grief, love, obsession, the capacity to lie and what happens when you do. It is a story of acceptance and gender inequality. I feel that now, more than ever, it is timely. It is a story that needed to be told. Some stories, however, just do not 'sell'. Some stories have their moment in the sun, some linger in shadows. I would be lying if I said I didn't want my first novel to be my début. I would also be lying if I said my ambitions as a writer didn't rest on this particular one. I am realistic enough though to understand this isn't the way it always works in the publishing industry, that many novelists don't find success until their second, third or even fourth novel. And if I spend all my energy focusing on my first, I'll never focus on my second, or third, or fourth. It is time then, to move on. Ten years really is enough.
My plan of action now is to complete my final agent compilation, prepare submission packages, and send the novel once again into the abyss once London Book Fair is over (the busiest time in an agent's calendar aside from Frankfurt Book Fair in October). I fully expect a six month wait (possibly longer) so in the meantime I shall embark - officially - on Book 2 and a few other projects I've had on the back-burner, and simply take it all from there. All I can do is keep my fingers and toes crossed that my first novel finds a home this year. And if it doesn't? Curb my disappointment and keep going. After all:
Writers are desperate people and when they stop being desperate they stop being writers. ~ Charles Bukowski