As her boyfriend rides his Harley into the Big Sur sunset, an author (we’ll call her Anne) contemplates dozens of rejection letters, the last few dollars of her savings, and a lifetime flipping burgers at MacDonald’s.
Then a UK magazine that accepted one of her stories folds, but the bad news brings good news.
Her editor says he’s been hired by a small UK book publisher. Did she, by any chance, have an unpublished novel?
Anne sends him one her agent rejected as “too over the top.”
Within weeks, the editor — a former BBC comedy writer — accepts it. The company has just moved into a 19th century mill in Lincolnshire on the banks of the river Trent (which George Eliot fictionalized as “The Floss”). The editor invites her to England to finalize and promote the book, and offers accomodations at the new headquarters.
A writer’s dream! Anne knew the company mainly published erotica, but was branching into mainstream and literary fiction. They’d already published the first novel of a distinguished poet. Plus, a famous Chicago newspaper columnist was in residence, awaiting the launch of his new book.
But when Anne arrives, she finds the famous columnist has stormed out, the “erotica” is serious kink, and the mill on the Trent looks more like a 19th century workhouse. Her accomodations are a futon and old metal desk, hidden behind stacks of remaindered porn…
Is this tale truth or fiction?
Both, of course! This week at Write It Sideways, I interview author Anne R. Allen about truth vs. fiction, among other things.
I’m currently reading her novel Sherwood, Ltd., which uses that Lincolnshire experience as backdrop to a comic mystery (what else?). If I didn’t know Anne, I’d never believe the reality behind that wacky setting.And if Anne’s name sounds familiar, she’s the daughter of author Shirley S. Allen, the astonishing 92-year-old author I interview here.
I count Anne a friend and fellow late bloomer, so I invite you to download Sherwood, Ltd. free at Smashwords, then go read the interview (where Anne also plans the literary dinner party of the century). Thanks so much!