Abigail Tarttelin: ‘You have to close your mind to frustrations & know that you wrote something worth reading’
Novelist Abigail Tarttelin just landed a six-figure book deal with Orion Books UK for the UK and Commonwealth rights to her new book, Golden Boy.
Publication is set for May 2013. Agent Jo Unwin from Conville & Walsh negotiated the deal with Arzu Kahsin, the editor of The Kite Runner and The Tiger’s Wife.
Things didn’t always look this rosy for the young author. She debuted with Flick last year as a 22-year-old novelist, but her UK publisher promptly entered administration, dashing her hopes for a proper release. We caught up with the young novelist to find out more about her story…
What was it like when Beautiful Books entered administration as your debut novel was coming out? How did that affect the release of Flick?
I was so excited to be a published author, and to hear that my publisher had gone into administration was disappointing after all the work that had gone into it. I think the way it affected Flick was that the book didn’t get the marketing it needed to get off the ground, and that was such a shame. Readers loved the book and I was very passionate about the message, so that was frustrating. Having said that, I knew at the time that you needed a thick skin to be self-employed in our economy, and I know a lot of people went through worse days at work during, and post, recession.
Any advice for aspiring writers who experience a similarly frustrating event? How do you keep writing when something frustrating like this happens?
At the end of the day, you have to close your mind to frustrations, know that you wrote something worth reading, and that nothing else matters. I’m not someone who doesn’t have to earn money, so I’ve always had to wait tables while writing. It has never been easy for me to find space, time and energy to write, but I think it taught me that you have to use your time wisely.
When I had the idea for GOLDEN BOY, I knew I had to get in front of my Macbook and write it, then and there. Now, because of my (frankly awesome) agent, Jo Unwin at Conville and Walsh, we have found a home with a brilliant and lovely editor, Arzu Tahsin from Wiedenfeld & Nicolson in the UK, and have just accepted a pre-empt too from Mondadori in Italy. The dream is getting more real by the day, and that hopefully means that I won’t have to wait tables again, but have a chance to do what I love.
I come from a small town, I’m younger than most authors, I had no start up money and I knew no one in publishing. GOLDEN BOY is living proof that hard work, support from a close circle of friends and family, taking risks and a lot of faith can make a career.
Here’s more about Golden Boy, from the agency site: “Max Walker is a golden boy. Tanned, blonde, attractive and athletic, he’s the perfect son, the perfect sportsman, and a perfect crush for the girls in his school. He’s even really nice to his little brother. His seemingly flawless family is about to get even more enviable: his Dad is running for election to Parliament. The spotlight of the media is about to encircle their lives. But Max has a secret, and someone has found out.”