Sometimes life is good. Sometimes it’s so good that you don’t need it to get any better. Last Tuesday night was one such night, given that I was sitting on the couch snaffling the last of my Easter eggs watching Barcelona’s Lionel Messi give a performance against the Mighty Arse that more or less defied superlatives. In my day I’ve been lucky enough to watch (not in the flesh, mind) the likes of Van Basten, Maradona, Bergkamp and Zidane, and seen all the clips of Pele, Best, Cruyff et al, and Messi - still only 22 - looks like he could well be the best of the lot, even though I’ll always have a soft spot for Van Basten, mainly for that goal against Russia in the 1988 Euro Championships.
Anyway, midway through the second half, the phone rang. It was my old agent, who still has some rights on THE BIG O, letting me know that an Italian publisher has made an offer for said tome. Which is pretty small beer in the grand scheme of things - the advance wouldn’t be impressive even if it was in lire - but it was a pretty nice boost at the time, especially as I’m currently wallowing in the latest writing-related trough that besets us all once in a while.
I have no idea when the book will be published in Italy, I’m presuming next year some time, if indeed the deal doesn’t fall through, but it’s nice to think that it’ll see a translation, and especially into Italian, and especially as I have a soft spot for that country. Hell, I might even wangle a long weekend there, to celebrate the launch. Most importantly, I suppose, the news sent me to the desk the following morning with a glimmer of hope that maybe someone will pick up my current offering, and desperately trying to ignore the sage advice that while you might be able to cope with the despair, it’s the hope that will kill you in the end.
Times like those I like to turn to Isak Dinesen’s advice: “I write a little every day, without hope and without despair.”
Meantime, and if you’re wondering why an Italian publisher has - almost literally - spared no expense in securing the rights to THE BIG O, clickety-click here. It may not be as hot as Lionel Messi or wolf nipple chips, but it’s mine own humble thing, and I like it all over again.
Failing that, check out what might well be the most audacious goal ever scored - and in a Euro Championship final, to boot. Roll it there, Collette … Recently I have been reading: DARK ORIGINS by Anthony Zuiker and Duane Swierczynski; BURYING THE BONES: PEARL BUCK IN CHINA by Hilary Spurling; BLOOD MONEY by Arlene Hunt; and OLD DOGS by Donna Moore.
“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.