A book about sailing, written at sea by Emma Bamford
All too often, when you are sailing, the wind and tide seem to be against you. At first, it seemed that way with my writing.
Shortly before I left my job at the Independent newspaper to go sailing, in the summer of 2010, a colleague suggested there might be a book idea in my upcoming trip and put me in touch with an agent.
I’d always loved books, and even tried writing a novel and a book about dating in London but was rejected by publishers and agents for both.
The agent, it emerged, wanted an update of Lucy Irvine’s raunchy Castaway. ‘Not likely,’ I thought, but I saved his email address anyway, in case I came up with a better idea.
After that, having adventures – sailing into the heart of the Borneo jungle, anchoring amid beautiful coral gardens, crossing oceans and visiting remote islands peopled only by hunter-gatherer tribesmen – absorbed me so completely that writing a book was furthest from my mind.
Fast-forward a couple of years and you’ll find me finally starting to write, stretched out in the cockpit of a sailing yacht anchored in Malaysia. Each morning, before it got too hot, I dug out my diaries and expanded on them, amazed at how easily the words flowed.
Perhaps they flowed too easily because the agent hated the 10,000 words I sent him, saying I’d ‘never get a publisher interested’.
Luckily, he was wrong. ‘Send me everything you’ve got,’ said Adlard Coles’s commissioning editor, Liz Multon. I did – and she turned me down, but kindly offered to read my manuscript again if I felt like re-writing it.
When I got her email I was living in a marina in St Petersburg, Florida, waiting for a new engine to be fitted to a 40ft Choate I was helping to deliver from Texas to St Lucia. I had time to kill, so I parked myself in the Captain’s Lounge, pencil in hand, and re-did the whole thing. Six months later I got an email from Liz saying Adlard Coles would be publishing Casting Off.
Proof that perseverance in whatever you do – whether it’s following a dream or simply tacking your way into a headwind – works. Keep at it, and you’ll get there.
Our guest blogger today is Emma Bamford, author of Casting Off. Read a few pages from her fantastic new book.