Probably the one thing you don't do when you've finally gained that most valuable and rare opportunity - a face-to-face meeting with a major publisher's editor - is being late. The other thing you should avoid is obliging the person who set up the meeting to come and drag you out of a talk by a forensic psychologist to attend. The final thing not to do would be 'explaining' you were late because you were so interested in the talk you just got dragged out of - because that would be like saying 'sorry, but I was doing something interesting and forgot all about meeting with you'.
So, I think we're quite clear about not doing any or all of those things. Only an idiot would behave in such a way. And, yes, that's exactly what I did on the weekend at WriteFest in Bundaberg to the charming and courteous Rachael Donovan of Allen and Unwin.
We met to discuss the finer points of my submission of The Pyrate's Sonne to U&W, and for Rachael to give some impressions of the first fifty pages of the MS. She was kind, generous and positive.
On the down side, she felt the word-count was too high, thought the book was for a younger age group because the protagonist is fourteen years old, and was gently dismayed by the racism.
Tricky. All the characters in The Pyrate's Sonne are racist as. Even the young hero. He doesn't think Jews eat babies as some of his crew do, but he's quietly convinced that seventeenth century Englishmen are the pinnacle of God's creation, and all other races inferior to them. As you do. The trouble is, apparently, that some parents, teachers and librarians feel that if a character expresses an opinion, it's also the opinion of the author.
You and I might be able to distinguish between a fictional characters' words and their writer's thematic discourse on, say, racism, but not so others.
So, a valuable insight into the real world, and one I'm truly grateful for.
Sandy and Cherie Curtis, and the entire Bundaberg Writers' Club, provided this opportunity plus a range of talks on a various topics to help us unpublished writers take another step forward on the learning curve. The BWC are a sweet bunch of people who made me feel part of the family. I can only suggest the reader consider the annual WriteFest a must-do on their writer's calendar.