NOTE: In August 2018, Irma Gold published on her blog http://www.irmagold.com/blog/an account of how I came to engage my literary agent, Sally Bird (no relation) at Calidris Agency. I am including this story on my blog today because there has been a development. You will need to read through to the end of the tale to get the latest news.
This is a sweet story of destiny, in seven steps.
One: I didn’t have an agent. Ages ago an ex-student of mine said she had just engaged an agent whose surname was the same as mine, and furthermore this agent lived in my small country town. I had not heard of this neighbouring agent, and I made no attempt to find her.
Two: In February 2018 I gave a writing workshop at the Faber Academy. One of the students said her novel was being published the following week, and that she had a wonderful agent who shared my surname and village. I still didn’t wake up.
Three: Another student in the workshop said he was giving his manuscript to his agent (a different one) the following Monday. Then he said she would have response from publishers within a month.
Four: Now something about that ‘month’ really got to me. I am sure the student was exaggerating about the speed of response, but as I sat on the train going home, the three points above came together and said ‘agent, agent, agent’. Shazam!
Five: I went to the website of Sally Bird, Calidris Agency, and we had a meeting, and we realised we lived within five minutes of each other, and, even more important, that we could work with each other. It is a strange relief to me to feel that a professional and widely experienced agent is now going to present my work to publishers.
Six: As well as having a business relationship, we enjoy each other’s company. ‘Bird’ is my married name, and also Sally’s married name. We have discussed the fashionable idea of having hyphenated surnames: Sally White-Bird and Carmel Power-Bird. How mad would that be? I began here by saying this was a sweet story of destiny – I am wary of events that seem to be working in sync with destiny, but I think I resisted this little series of steps for long enough. I’m glad I gave in in the end. A five-minute walk can do you the world of good.
Seven: Sally is now representing my new novel Field of Poppies. I amso confident and delighted about all this.
So that’s the end of the story as it was published by Irma in 2018. The latest thing is that agent Sally has decided to move back to her native country of New Zealand. No more short walks and cups of tea for us. Our professional relationship continues, but by email and aircraft. I think perhaps I caught her on the wing, just in time.