Monday, 17 November 2008

The Dedicatee

I’ve dedicated Dancing for the Hangman to Mandy Little. She’s my literary agent, and has been since I first sent out the original manuscript of what became my debut novel, All the Lonely People. Mandy liked the story, but suggested some (very reasonable) changes and then found a publisher for the book.

She and I have been together ever since, and I greatly appreciate her loyalty and commitment – not least because I certainly haven’t earned her a vast amount of money in commission. Nevertheless, she has always had faith in my work, and that means a lot to any writer.

Mandy encouraged me to write a novel about the Crippen case several years ago, and it’s fair to say that Dancing for the Hangman would not have existed without her prompting. Not so long ago, she took me to Hilldrop Crescent, not too far from her offices, to see the site of Number 39 (the actual house was destroyed in the Blitz) where the Crippens lived. The excursion was followed by a very enjoyable lunch and the hours flew by, as they always do in her company.

The relationship between author and agent is very important. You need to feel you have someone batting on your side. I know plenty of authors who are disappointed in their agents, and this must be very disheartening. I’m lucky to have Mandy – hence the dedication.

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