Agents, Avoiding Reality, and The Future™

This isn’t really a blog post, as such — I seem to have lost the knack of that. I thought when the lockdown started I might start blogging regularly (to track the passing of days, if nothing else; to leave some record of all this that’s more comprehensible than my scribbled journal), but the fact that I’ve not posted since February shows you how well that went. Looking in my drafts, I found half a post from March about some of the books I was reading. Totally forgot I’d even started that.

Instead this is just a handful of pieces of news, because although they’re few and far between these days, I suspect I still have a few readers on this blog who don’t follow me on other social media. That is, if I still have any readers after letting this blog fade so completely into obscurity. My stats have officially flatlined for the past few months, and by flatlined I don’t mean “held steady”, I mean they’re at 0 views. Oops. Turns out, if you want people to read your blog, you actually have to write it. Astonishing, that.

Anyway, news:

I’m now agented! As of Friday, I’m represented by Jessica Hare of The Agency (London) Limited. She signed me for Butterfly of Night, a YA novel about a screwed-up teenage assassin and her poor life choices, but I think it’s safe to say we’re both in this for the long haul, so fingers crossed it’s the start of a long and productive partnership! I’ll talk about this whole journey in a future post, if you’d like me to — depending on where you start the story, it dates back to 2014, or 2012, or 2009, or 2004, so it hasn’t been a speedy process. I have a lot of thoughts about it all, so let me know if you want to hear them.

I (re)wrote a book. Two books, actually. In April and early May I rewrote Bard, my SF Arthurian novel from 2016. I wrote a second draft of this book in 2018 that brought it closer to what I wanted it to be, but I wanted to make some major changes this time around, mostly relating to worldbuilding (which I’ve got substantially better at). Unfortunately, in fixing these aspects, I managed to screw everything else up, and the book is now 134k of disappointment. RIP. At some point I’ll rewrite it again, but at the moment I don’t want to look at it at all, so it might be another two years before I can bear to do that… Once I was done with that, I leapt straight into another project, mostly as an attempt to avoid reality, and wrote 102k in 9.5 days. So, yes, that did bring my total up to 236k in six and a half weeks. I haven’t pulled something like that since 2013.

But reality really is terrible, isn’t it? I just… can’t read the news. Can’t watch the news. I’m coping by avoidance, and it seems to be working okay, until the news intrudes on my own life and then it all becomes unbearable. On Monday I learned that somebody I knew at university had died because of Covid. Although we weren’t close, I still have a lot of fond memories of him, and this totally knocked my feet out from under me. I averaged about 12k a day for the rest of the week through sheer determination Not To Think About It, which… is one way of dealing, I guess.

I’m due to start an MA in the autumn. I have no idea what form that’s going to take, right now — whether I’ll be doing online classes, whether the start of term will be delayed, what exactly it’s going to look like. I haven’t yet confirmed where I’ll be studying, as I’m waiting to hear about scholarships and funding, but it’ll most likely be either University College Cork or Maynooth University. The MA’s in Medieval Irish, so you can see exactly how well my ‘I’m not staying in academia’ thing went. Terribly. It went terribly. I appear to be the kind of person that academia just happens to. But planning for the future is hard when nobody knows what the future is going to look like, and I’ll readily confess to being considerably anxious about the whole thing.

I shaved my head. It’s the quarantine mood. Didn’t make that much of a difference for me, since I had very short hair anyway, but now I’m fuzzier than ever. That’ll be fun, when I eventually manage to get my passport updated with my new name — something that’s been put on hold by the current situation. Yes, it is making me somewhat anxious not to know whether I’ll have an up-to-date passport by the autumn or whether I’ll be carrying my deed poll around everywhere trying to make sure I get registered in the correct name. I also made some bread, but gluten-free bread is hard, so I’d say it was only a limited success. Getting good at making naan-type flatbreads tho. My dry yeast’s a year past its date so all bread is flatbread at the moment.

I think that’s all the news I’ve really got to share with you at the moment, but with luck I’ll be back in the not-too-distant future with real posts. If you’d like me to talk about writing/agent stuff, let me know in the comments and I will do that.


  1. Ha, your poor yeast. Funny, all your breads are flatbreads now. Better than nothing! I totally didn’t get on the bread-making train everyone got on. I went through a phase a few years ago when I made baguettes, but really, the grocery store does it better–and cheaper and faster. Anyway, congrats on the agent! As someone who has been querying for a couple years now, I know that’s huge. Was this your first book you queried about? Or had you done this whole excruciating process before? And congrats on the upcoming MA–that sounds super interesting! See, you have at least one blog follower left. Great post, and well done on all your news. I’m sure you look great with your head shaved. No hairdresser angst for you!

    • Finn Longman says:

      When it comes to gluten-free bread, even the shop-bought bread is super expensive, so if I *could* nail the homemade bread it probably would save me money in the long term. The flatbreads definitely do — the only GF naans I’ve seen in shops are super expensive. If I wasn’t gluten free, though, I definitely wouldn’t bother…

      Not the first book I’ve queried but the first I’ve queried *properly* — made a few forays in the past where I’d send out half a dozen queries and then back out and rewrite the book again, haha. Including a previous version of this book. This time I actually stuck with it.

  2. Eleanor says:

    congrats on the agent! I for one would absolutely like to hear more about writerly things if you fancy blogging about it 🙂

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