As an editor, you get used to agentʼs submission letters. You learn to distinguish the Big Hype from the Forlorn Hope quite quickly. And – unfair as it may seem – you probably decide, within two sentences of that letter, if you are going to give the manuscript the 3 or 300 page test.
I always wanted to write. Ever since Mr Baker, my English teacher at my Liverpool Secondary Modern inspired me. One day he gave me a pile of magazine cuttings and told me to write whatever came to my mind. At the end he asked me ‘How did you do this?’ and I couldn't answer. He gave me the key to the English department stock room and during lunchtime I would bury myself in the smell of books and disappear into the worlds created by others. At weekends, I would sit in the new library on my council estate and read everything the library assistant could throw at me.