The journey - pain, pleasure, perseverance.
My inbox pinged with a message from “The Literary Consultancy” – a leading London based manuscript Assessment Company saying that a play I had written with a friend of mine called “Shaadi” had won their inaugural playwriting competition.
A report followed which complimented the subversion of a common storyline in Asian circles (arranged marriages). My friend and I attended a workshop in London where we met some key-industry insiders and they were hugely enthusiastic about the play.
There was some discussion about interested parties and some connections made but we were unable to find a suitable theatre-house which might have helped two amateur script-writers to hone their skills. Especially with a story like “Shaadi” which was a no-holds barred, humorous look at the absurdity and darkness which can result from age-old traditions.
“I find myself in the very unusual position of having very little to say about this play. I loved it. It is funny. It is unexpected (and no I didn’t see the ‘twists’ coming) and it also has something serious to say. So many plays these days may have two of these three elements, but it is unusual to find all three. What you have done is taken a popular, yet often almost clichéd subject – the tensions of cross-cultures, east and west, tradition versus modernity and part subverted it…”
Also, in that month, one of my colleagues at work gave me a copy of Tess Gerritsen’s novel, “The Surgeon”. It was an intensely edgy crime-thriller – the first one I had read since I was fifteen years old. The book terrified me yet I couldn’t stop reading.
What I wanted was to thrill. Forget the stereotypes.
2010 – Year off. Moping about. Thinking of why I was right and my agency was wrong (Foolish of me – and it is worth noting here that they were 100% correct – the book wasn’t good enough. Takes hindsight to see it).
8th December 2013 – phone call. From crime-reviewer, Graham Smith, whose competition I had entered. “Fields of Blood” selected as winner out of seventy novels. Prize – all expenses paid weekend at a crime-writing masterclass.
June 2014 – big hit from a huge agency. Met for coffee in London. No offer of representation but loved the book and wanted to see my current work in progress (first in a series). Asked me to keep in touch – very good meeting and a bigger agency than my previous agent. Feeling good. Feeling positive.
October 2014 – met with and immediately signed with Simon Trewin. Great guy. Loved the book. His office loved the book – first time anyone ever told me what I had written had moved them. I remember one of Simon’s staff saying, ‘loved it – couldn’t put the damn thing down.” Fabulous feeling.
1.1 million words.
"If you love writing - you'll never do a days work..."
16th June 2016… Publication. For Bradford; the darkness is coming…