Having (almost) moved on from The Article (still awaiting editor's response, but fingers crossed), I have now decided to move on with My Book. Now don't get me wrong - I may have so far published just two books ("Yucketypoo - The Monster That Grew And Grew" and "Yucketypoo Slimes Again" - signed copies available), but during the (almost) fifty years that I have been writing, I have produced literally dozens of them, most of them "proper" novels, with titles like "Elfin", "The Tutstwaddle Ghosts" and "Three Cheers For Griddle" for children and "In Shadow" for adults.
I was dead lucky at the age of eighteen to get some great tutalage from an editor named Aidan Chambers who, at the time was in charge of Topliners - a teenage imprint of, what was then , Macmillan Education. During our three or so years of association, I produced a number of books for teenagers including "One Boy" , "A Girl Called Sandra" and "Pat And The Kid". "One Boy" was my first full-length novel which I wrote in about six weeks flat. Aidan and his team could not have been more helpful in their feedback and everything they taught me has grown with me ever since, including being persistent.
Then for quite a few years, I found that writing and submitting articles and children's stories or poems seemed to work and the novels and books kind of got left behind. If I think of it next time I blog, I will include a list of my published work and you'll see what I mean. But one day in 2011, at Croydon Central library, I had my Epiphany. Then went home and wrote the book I had waited my entire life for. Any writers reading this (and I hope at least some of you are), will know that when you hit on the right idea, you actually know you have. I knew it then. And I know it now. Furthermore heavy research showed that there is nothing like it on the market - I had found that elusive gap - and it was like all my writing Christmases had come at once. It is a children's book - quite short in the scheme of things (around 21,000 words), but still the longest piece of work I had produced in many a year.
It is for the target age group of 8 - 10 year olds but its title alone means people of all ages and all walks of life will snap it up (and I know that because I am always snapping up books where the titles have any connection with Creative Writing - oops, almost let the cat of the bag then). It took me till late last year to get it about as right as I can in three drafts and during that time, I contacted at least a dozen agents and at least half a dozen publishers - yet I could not get a sniff out of any of them. Not even with my track record. So this is my new Quest. Despite my inherent fear of e-books and e-publishing, I am going to take that route with My Book before this year is through. So - those 300-plus Viewers of the J P Henderson-Long blog WATCH THIS SPACE ( oh - and anyone with any advice on the next step in this process, please drop me a line)...