I’m back in Cynthia’s flat and the main characters from my very-soon-to-be-published novel are all staring at me. They don’t look happy.
“The book’s going to be out soon. Aren’t you pleased?” I say brightly.
Connor stares at the bottom of his empty wine glass then looks directly at me “We’re pleased that you’ve set the wheels in motion, so to speak.”
“Good.” I nod. “I’ll get the draft copy of the paperback around Easter.”
Connor looks around the room at his fellow characters. Cynthia nods at him.
“Well, Ms Hall, the thing is…”
Lucy interrupts. “We’re sorry,” she says, squeezing Pierre’s hand, “but we’re not really sure about the cover.” She smiles at me weakly.
“Oh?” I shake my head. “Have you any idea how long it took and how many versions of my beloved’s artwork I uploaded before we, or rather I, was happy?” I frown at them all. “I’m really pleased with it. It looks really…”
“Old-fashioned.” Gina interrupts.
I was going to say ‘retro’ actually. Like a Penguin Original.”
“But why a drawing?” Lucy says, fiddling with her long golden hair. “Why not a nice photo of all of us?”
“That’s, er, not going to be possible.” How do I tell them they don’t actually exist?
Another true-life story of an author and her characters😉
Connor turns from the window where he has been gazing out onto the empty street. “You’re the author, Ms Hall; we’re entirely in your hands.” He fiddles with the change in his trouser pockets. “But well, we were wondering, when exactly is our book coming out?”
I stare back at him, not comprehending the situation. My gaze travels around the room. Next to me, dressed in a blue silk caftan, legs curled up underneath her on the couch, is Cynthia. She is busy examining her beautifully manicured nails. Opposite sits Lucy, long blonde hair glowing.
“It’s just that it’s been so long,” Lucy says, a little breathlessly. “I mean…” her voice trails off and Pierre, her boyfriend, who is perched on the arm of her chair, squeezes her shoulder gently.
Lucy turns to Gina who is sitting in the matching armchair next to her. I notice she is fiddling with a shiny new ring on her third finger. The light catches the bright solitaire diamond sending patterns flashing across the worn Persian rug where Asmar, Cynthia’s cat, is lounging. He dabs at the flickering light with a casual golden paw. The blaring of a televised football match filters down from the flat upstairs where Gary, Gina’s boyfriend fiancé now? must be watching.
Gina sits forward and leans towards me. “It’s not that we’re ungrateful. We’ve loved our story. It was so exciting!” She pauses for a moment. “Well, mostly.” She frowns momentarily. “It all turned out all right in the end though,” she adds, grinning. “It’s just that, I’m sorry to have to say this, but we feel like we’re in limbo.”
I look around the room at these people whom I know so well; these people with whom I’ve spent so many hours.
Connor clears his throat. “Time waits for no man… or woman.” He takes his hands out of his pockets and puffs out his chest. “I have had a second slim volume of my poetry accepted for publication since you finished our manuscript.”
I gave you an agent, I think to myself. I fiddle with the pen I’m holding and glance down to see my notebook open on my lap.
Connor darts forward and grabs it. “Oh no, Ms Hall. No more changes. It’s done. Finished. You told everyone so.”
I hold my hands up. “I know. And it is. Finished I mean.” I sigh, my hands dropping into my lap. “I’m just waiting for the artwork for the cover.”
Connor nods gravely.
At that moment there is a knock at the door.
“It’s open,” calls Cynthia.
Tony Wong, whose flat is across the hall and who is landlord to Cynthia, Gina and Lucy, smiles and enters. He pads over the rug and holds out a bowl stacked high with pale brown crackers. “Would you like a fortune cookie, Ms Hall?”
I take one and pull out the little paper message, but it’s like one of those plot-halting moments. I can’t read a single word.
A true-life story of an author and her characters 😉
When 23 year old Lucy is given a beautiful ruby necklace by Pierre, a gorgeous man she’s only just met in a Liverpool nightclub, her humdrum life is changed forever. But the ruby is more than just an expensive jewel, and Albie Chan, the sinister Triad boss, is determined to have it for himself, forcing Pierre and Lucy to flee the city.
Meanwhile, Lucy’s best friend and flat mate, Gina, has been tracking down the father whom she never knew. Now Godrell Clark, once a sailor from Jamaica who was part of the Liverpool jazz scene in the sixties, finds his past is catching up with him fast, all the way to Kingston, Jamaica.
But there is an even greater prize than the ruby, and passions run high when a mysterious little jade statue turns up in a pile of boxes belonging to the upstairs tenants in Lucy and Gina’s rented house.
Lucy is snatched by Chan and Pierre faces an impossible choice: obtain the statue for Chan and gain Lucy’s freedom, or hand it over his one-time guardian and employer, the mysterious Aurora, to whom he owes his freedom from his brutal childhood.
So, you know what this is? It’s my long-sweated over first attempt at a blurb for my recently-completed novel. I’m not entirely happy with it, but I’ve stared at it long enough!
Some of you may have read the story (or bits of it) as a work in progress last year, so you’ll have an idea of the story. Others won’t, and you’re coming to it cold.
Would you buy on the strength of the pitch?
Would you at least ‘download it for a dollar’?
Writerly friends, please would you care to give me some feedback? Constructive criticism really is most welcome.