I had a half-hour visit with Chris Binchy (novelist, DunLaoghaire-Rathdown writer-in-residence, and Maeve's nephew) in Stillorgan library yesterday, and it was really encouraging. I had sent him the first nine A4 pages of "Despite the Angels" to comment on.
He liked the writing, and though he had a few minor suggestions about style, there was nothing major, and I agree with all his improvements. He liked the idea of the book, and feels it should be published. In fact he seemed surprised that it has not been taken up already by a conventional publisher. But of course, just now is a terrible time for old-style publishing.
We had a long chat about 'genre' because on Amazon as well as with ordinary publishers you have to be clear what genre your book is. Chris feels this is a pity as writers then write to fit the genre rather than writing the book that they want to write. No trouble with me on that one, I have always been a rebel, and so far it has rarely done me much good!
For me the most exciting thing in the meeting was that Chris thought my book is 'almost literary fiction'. That's not good from a sales point of view, as some people are scared of 'literature'. But for my confidence it's great, a good reflection on the actual writing.
I came out with my writing-energy replenished, and my optimism ratings hugely improved. Many thanks, Chris, and DunL-Rathdown County Council for making these meetings possible.