Thursday, 18 March 2010
Competitive? No way. I just like being first.
Take Authonomy for example. Put up my book, Walker. Got great feedback, more than enough to fix the book. Could I leave it there? Oh no. ‘I’ll just get into the top 100,’ I thought. Then, ‘Well, maybe the top fifty.’ And so it went until I ended up making my eyes bleed by reading enough books to haul mine into the top five. Was that enough? Nope, had to get the Number One spot. And what for? So an editor at HarperCollins could tell me what a bunch of fellow authors had already said time and time again.
So, when I got a third of the way through my new work in progress, what did I do? Yup, you got it. Bunged it up again. This time I am fighting myself, I really am – I am purposely not pushing it. But the feedback is great. Samael is aimed at the top end of the Young Adult readership. It’s what is now called ‘dark romance’ (you’d better believe it, Waterstones have a whole section devoted to it). In other words, it’s classic Twilight stuff – girl falls in love with boy (except he’s not exactly human). Fear not, there are no vampires and no fallen angels. It’s an interesting genre because basically it straddles both romance and horror (so right up my street).
If you fancy taking a read – you can check it out here.
Meanwhile, Mrs Competitive has discovered there are awards for writers who are also bloggers. Once again, my paw is up there, waving frantically, ‘Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!’ Sad, isn’t it?
Do you think I didn’t get enough recognition as a child? Was I an overlooked adolescent? What makes me want to win so desperately? Even more worryingly is the fact that often I won’t even enter the race because, conversely, I’m too scared of losing.
Ergo, no way would I go in for the mother’s race at school. I won’t enter the squash league and will only play small uncoordinated children (see, this is getting really shameful now, isn’t it?). I'm still getting over my cupcakes not being picked in English Mum's competition!
A few days ago, someone told me that Walker was mentioned on the website of a radio station in New Hampshire. I scurried over and found that, yes, there it was – at number two in the chart. And if it got to number one? I’d have the huge honour of having it recorded to be broadcast to the brave listeners. Only thing – I’d have to pay for the privilege. Was I horrified? Did I walk away in disgust? No way. I voted for myself.
Thing is, how far do you let your children know about such unsavoury traits? James goes to a school which believes in ‘healthy’ competition – in that they play competitive sport (though give everyone a bash) and have scores and awards and merits. But I bite my lip and try to be a good liberal parent, not to push, not to urge him to barge his way to the front of the queue. I think that’s right. I hope it’s okay. But then, I figure children make up their own minds. James picks his battles – is furiously competitive in sport but can’t be arsed with academic prowess.
Ah well. Confession is good for the soul and I feel somewhat purged for owning up to my sordid secret. By the way, if you get a chance – do cast a vote for me, won’t you? (you think I’m joking??)