So what is it all about?! Why have I decided to write this blog? The answer is that I’m embarking on a new project and my good friend William suggested I write an account of my progress. So here I am and, to begin, let’s take a trip down memory lane to the sleepy suburb of Snaresbrook in East London about eight years ago…
Following the death of my Grandpa Sam (a truly wonderful man, much missed), I would stay over occasionally with my Grandma Gloria at the house she had shared with Grandpa for more than sixty years. It was always a second home for us. Defiantly plain-speaking, whisky-drinking, fag-smoking Grandma Gloria (a bit of a legend amongst family and friends) now lived alone and my visits would always follow the same routine: Chicken Kiev and chips (which, in my eyes, had taken over from spaghetti and tinned Bloom’s meatballs as her signature dish) accompanied by Deal Or No Deal on the box – sometimes, if we were feeling particularly adventurous, we would play the Deal Or No Deal board game complete with ringing telephone and genuine Noel Edmonds sound effects – literally just like being there!
We were both huge fans of the show. Would you believe, I used to daydream of taking a sabbatical from work so I could be a contestant? I even rang the hotline to apply; probably a bonkers idea and this article by the great Jon Ronson will tell you why:
The show has now been cancelled so my dream is dashed – along with similar dreams about Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and Stars In Their Eyes. Perhaps my interest in game shows is the stuff of a future blog. Don’t get me started on Bullseye, another favorite of Grandma and me.
The evening in question was pretty routine until bedtime. I settled in to the front room upstairs; my Uncle Peter’s room in days gone by and most probably still furnished with the single bed he slept in as a teenager. Moving to draw the curtains, I stopped to look out of the window over sleepy Hollybush Close – possibly bathed in moonlight, I honestly can’t remember. A lone fox ran into the road, had a look around and continued on its way.
And I had an idea.
A flash. A bit of inspiration.
If you’ve read my profile, you’ll know that I make my living representing writers and directors in the film and television industry. I am a facilitator, not a creator. In a former life, I did have ambitions to write and I’ll tell you that far-from-epic story next week. The Rob Kraitt you find staring out of a first floor window of a house in North East London in the wee small hours – some time during the Spring of 2008 – hasn’t really thought about writing for some time. I had been dabbling a little but, as I like to joke to anyone who listens to me on panels and Q & As: it’s no job for a grown up!
But there I was, watching the progress of an urban fox crossing the road, and I thought I’d found a story to tell. That was the moment that led to the journey I’m hoping to continue now. That was when I decided to write a novel. I had a long way to go.
Over the coming weeks, I’ll tell you about what I wrote and how I wrote it. I’ll introduce you to Elinor Cooper, the brilliant and patient young agent who helped me through the dark days of writing and then had to break the soul-destroying news of each and every publisher rejection – rejection that eventually led to my novel sitting in a bottom drawer for five years. Which takes us to the end of last year, when my son James – as plain spoken as his Great Grandma – told me in no uncertain terms that I should dust off the darned thing and publish it myself on Amazon. He’s absolutely right, of course! And at the end of March this year, that’s exactly what I’m planning to do.
Incidentally, the idea that came to me as I gazed out of that bedroom window in Snaresbrook bears absolutely no resemblance to what I eventually wrote. I went to sleep that night chewing over the notion of a boy who turns into a fox and gets in adventures. Luckily I didn’t write that book! That book – Finding The Fox – was written by Ali Sparkes, published in 2006 and became the successful Shapeshifter series (five sequels so far and counting). You can find her at http://www.alisparkes.com.
The novel I wrote over the course of the next year is called Black Moon. It’s a young-adult novel with just enough subtext to interest the grown-up reader. I won’t pitch it to you now but I can tell you it delivers action, adventure, laughter and tears. It’s also got a car chase on spaghetti junction. What’s not to like?!
Tune in next week when I tell you why I’m a writer’s agent, not a writer.