Novel number 17 was a diversion for me. A serious one.
But, first, a bunch of novellas were written in the interim. One – Second Home – clocked in at only 16000 words, but this was long enough for a younger reader book, which is good, because it was written with 11-13 year olds in mind. The reason I mention it is because it was rejected three times, but one of them was after 2 serious rewrites (the last of which I thought was awful). This came rather close to being a published book for that age group!
Next was one called Treasure. At a little over 31000 words, I still really enjoy this tale. High fantasy in an urban setting. Its length is a huge problem, though, as there is nowhere I can sell it at the moment. It involves a group of other-worlders, and is written in a Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer style, but the narrator/private eye is not human either. A sequel sits half-written on the computer as well, but it just comes across as too depressing at the moment.
And finally was Lines Of Communication, at around 22000 words, which was rejected twice for stand-alone novella publishing, and I can see why with the value of hindsight.
So we reach Final Siren. Not a long novel – 42500 words – but one that was something very different. A murder mystery. No supernatural undertones or overtones, just someone investigating a crime and finding the killer. Simple. The death was based around a game of Australian Rules football, and a sequel was immediately drafted around a cricket match (6 And Out). But the people who have read it said it was a little clichéd, and that the killer was obvious from about halfway through. Oh well, something outside my comfort zone, always worth a try. I still think I did an okay job of trying my hand at the murder mystery genre, though. And, just to see how it went, I sent it off to two new markets, looking for unpublished crime fiction. No responses – more rejections.
“Boss, there’s a phone call for you.”
Charles looked up from the notes supplied to him by a virtual army of police officers, taking statements from nearly everybody at the ground not sitting in the stands. “Thanks,” he grunted and wandered over to the handset being offered to him.
“Dudley,” he barked.
“We think we’ve tracked down Webb, sir,” came a disembodied voice from the other end, sounding like so many other voices he had spoken to over the years.
“Where is he?”
“It seems he’s got an apartment in Essendon, and he’s…”
“Well, spare me the details and go and get him,” the inspector said, drawing his words out as if speaking to a stupid child.
“Sergeant Kidman’s on his way there now, sir.”
“Thank-you,” he said, relaxing a little. “Let me know when he’s been notified. If he wants to see me, bring him down here.”
“Sir.” And the call rang off. Finally, something going right. Finding the man’s manager and personal advisor and business partner had not been an easy task, and they were all quite frankly surprised the man had not been at the ground to help celebrate this magnificent footballing milestone. But, Charles reasoned, he knew so little about the victim and his life that surely things like this were going to crop up all the time…
Rejection total: 82 + 3 + 2 + 2 = 89