It appears to me that trying to get to Hampstead Heath for a spot of research for my book, has similarities to trying to get published! Neither are a smooth journey.
I first attempted the journey to London last September on my birthday. I wanted to be selfish and indulge in my passion for that day. But not being writers, family members thought it strange that I'd want to spend the day alone. They missed the point that I would be spending the day surrounded by the characters in my book. So I ended up in Cambridge, and spent a lovely day with my mother and daughter instead.
Autumn also conjured up obstacles to defer another attempt. Still, writers know all about waiting patiently!
I made it to London last Monday. Uninterested people waved a nonchalant hand when I asked for occasional directions, just as uninterested agents have rejected my manuscript. I got on the tube going in the wrong direction, just as I'd received a letter from a publisher offering to publish my work....for a fee! Not a direction I wanted to travel down.
When I reached Hampstead Heath, the sun was shining and the blossoms were bursting. People pointed me in the right direction with a smile, just as some agents have been very complimentary about my writing and urged me to continue. Isn't it wonderful when an experience exceeds your expectations? I reached the summit of Parliament Hill, taking the same journey my fictional family did in Lies and Linguine. Sitting on a bench, shining with a polished patina from thousands of bottoms, I looked over the huge metropolis and felt as if Denise and her family had actually sat there before me. Just to add a further dimension to my visit, a group of impromptu gospel singers sprang into song on the summit of the hill. I drank in sun, the constellation of dandelions, the children's squeals, the smell of the grass and the distant rumble of traffic. It makes so much difference to visit a place you want to write about.
I also visited The London Book Fair. The quote of the day for me, was by author Richard Ford who was being interviewed in the Literary Cafe. He said, "Every writer experiences rejection. We all have to have a turn in the cold shower. Ultimately, be yourself. You've got to write what you've got to write."