I was born in 1948 and finished writing my first novel in 1984 when I was thirty-six years old. Even back then I was conscious of being a failure. I had wanted to be the next Scott Fitzgerald but he had published his first novel in his early twenties and was dead when he was forty.
I needn't have worried anyway because I never got the book published.
I sent it out to Jonathan Cape, Chatto & Windus, Hamish Hamilton, Faber & Faber, The Bodley Head and half a dozen others. It must have been a different world back then because most of them took the trouble to read the book and sent back individual rejection slips. Some of them were even quite encouraging and urged me not to give up but to try other publishers more suited to my work.
I re-read the book for the first time earlier this week. It's not very good. A lot of it is downright bad. About twenty-five per cent shows some promise.
But it got me thinking. There's a story in there that I still want to tell. After years of dicking around I've finally found something I want to write about. Something important. Something I can believe in after years in the wilderness.
I'm going to start today.