"Failure is a normal part of life. It's not the end of the world, it's the beginning of a new one."
Author, culinary wizard, podcaster and journalist, Sophie White, interviewed me for Image Magazine about my upcoming debut novel, The Glass Door, and being a failure.
"We love stories of success. We love to hear about disappointment, hardship and failure, but only as long as the final act contains a gloriously vindicating flood of success. All these viral videos telling us how Oprah was fired from her first job and The Help was rejected eight thousand times before it was published, gives us a little dopamine hit. We like a little bit of adversity but ultimately the story has to deliver big in the form of respect and success at the end. However, the success narrative is not really teaching us anything of value because it rarely dwells on the most vital part of succeeding: Failing."
Speaking of failing, I discuss the decade long journey I've been on with The Glass Door, from writing it on scraps of paper in my London flat while I was auditioning for acting jobs, to Dalzell Press publishing it on the new Amazon White Glove publishing platform later this year.
Between traditional publishing houses having trouble identifying the 'market' for the book, and winning awards and agents with it, it has been a road both tempting and frustrating where the bright spots of its successes have threatened to dim and go out as it stretched ever further into an unknown distance. I was very honest about the difficulty of the journey, and how at times I have really struggled with the whole process, which forced me to re-learn the ways I value myself. This was made easier by Sophie's forthright, funny and grounded approach, and the fact that she, and many others who write or make art, are or have been in a similar situation to me. Not that knowing I'm not entirely alone in the process makes not getting what I want any easier, as this quote suggests:
"I don’t know, I mean you can say what you want about these things. Maybe it’s this, maybe it’s that. Maybe it’s just because it’s f*cking shit! You make any excuses you want but the fact of the matter is that I started writing it 10 years ago and for seven years it’s been rejected consistently."
To read the rant/use of expletives in full, go here.
Cover art by Baby Duka.
My debut novel, The Glass Door, is coming out soon. It will be published by Dalzell Press and will be available in book form, as well as on Kindle and audiobook (soon).
I finished writing this book many years ago, and since then it has been on a long, long, often times intensely frustrating journey to publication. When I won my first prize with it and was scouted and picked up by an agent I thought, This. is. it. That was back in 2012.
It went nowhere, was rejected and rejected and fell flat. Everything stopped. Then I was approached by my now (and very wonderful) agent, Paul Feldstein, through winning the Irish Writers Centre Greenbean Novel Fair in 2016, only to have the book rejected again by countless bricks-and-mortar publishers over the last two years. It has been a long and tiring road. And it has been at times beyond upsetting and discouraging. There were many moments I wanted to curl into the dark hole of giving up; but something - stubborness, insanity, masochism - has kept me following this path.
Going the White Glove route was not something I foresaw, but it is opening a new space in publishing that interests me, and it makes The Glass Door available worldwide at once, an exciting prospect.
I am happy to have this new way of sharing my work with readers when the traditional routes have not gone to plan. I have been nurturing this book for a decade, keeping it warm, whispering to it that there's still hope. I will be so glad to give it its wings at long last...
It will be launching in September 2018. Final dates to follow soon.
RM Clarke is a writer and voice-over artist. She has written for various literary mags and anthologies and won awards. She has put her voice to most things she can think of.