Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I finished editing Adventure Eddy ten days ago.

The completed manuscript took six months to write and landed up at about 126,000 words. Over the course of two revisions, I trimmed that down to 84,000 words. The revision itself took six months and involved almost as much work as writing the bloody thing. But can you imagine it? By trimming 42,000 words, I'd pretty much cut out one in three words throughout the entire book. That's quite a lot!

During that editing time, I made a cover, got my family, friends and gorgeous Power FM presenter Claire Anderson to read it and basically made Adventure Eddy as good as I could make it. I'm sure it could be better - I'm sure it could always be better - but I'm drained, now. I've lived that book for a year. Now it's over.

So for the last ten days, it's sat there.

It's time, really. Time for me to put my money where my mouth is and actually send Adventure Eddy off to an agent, to see if my months of hard work and years of dreaming will actually pay off and Eddy Newbolt will see the bright lights of Waterstones.

The truth is, I'm terrified.

If being published was all down to the amount of work involved, I'm sure I'd be in with a shot. I mean, I came up with the concept of a modern day Saint twelve years ago and have been writing adventure stories ever since then. And I followed all the rules. I didn't just sit down and start hammering away at a keyboard. I actually spent three months writing a 20,000 plot plan that ran to eighty pages. I wrote about 'what I knew.' Paris and old cars and unrequited love. I did research into hotel robberies, basing the crimes themselves on 'The Man Who Robbed The Pierre,' Bobby Comfort. I got so involved in this story that I dreamed about it. Eddy, Kat, Chuck and Valerie spoke to me, coming to life on the page.

It's weird to think that a jumble of eighty four thousand words can contain so much of my blood, sweat and tears. That it's significance in my life can be so great. It really means something to me. Does it sound pathetic that writing Adventure Eddy is probably one of the greatest achievements of my life?

By submitting it to a publisher, I'm going to let them peer at a plot plan and the first three chapters and decide then and there whether they think this book deserves to go into print or not. And if it comes back as a rejection, it's not going to be just the story they've rejected. It's going to be the entire last year of my life.

And I have to face the reality that Adventure Eddy probably will get rejected. Even Frederick Forsyth and J.K Rowling got their share of rejection slips.

I think it's a great book. I think it NEEDS to be published. I think Adventure Eddy is the first in a series of 'kids books for adults' which recapture all the magic of the Saint books that I still avidly collect from second hand bookshops.

I wrote Adventure Eddy because it's the kind of book I want to read. And I think the popularity of Lemony Snickett and Harry Potter show that there is an enormous adult market that wants to read good, old fashioned adventure stories just like mine.

So I really feel, deep down, that my book has some worth.

But unless I send it off and get prepared to face the rejection, I guess it can never happen. And in some ways, that's not too horrible a prospect. If I never sent Eddy off to a publisher, I'd never have to face that rejection. The hope and promise contained within the 384 pages of Adventure Eddy would remain there forever. It's just like Eddy's unrequited love for Kat. If it never happened - if it never came true - there would be no heartache or rejection or betrayal.

But I didn't spend so much time writing this book to let it languish in a corner. I need to send it off, the consequences be damned.

In one of the books that inspired me to create Adventure Eddy, The Last Hero by Leslie Charteris, the character of Norman Kent turns to Simon Templar, The Saint, and tells him: "Nothing is won without sacrifice."

And if The Saint was a real person... No, let's say if Adventure Eddy was a real person, what would he do? He'd sling that manuscript in the post before the stamp was dry.

Because Adventure Eddy is all about embracing life, whatever it tastes like. And if I'm going to sit there and claim to be qualified to write about Adventure Eddy, I might as well make an effort to live like him. Just a little.

I will give you an update when it's done.

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