I was instantly hooked. I waited three days to see if I won the contest (I didn't) and then ordered the book, DUST OF 100 DOGS. I made the grave error of starting it at 10.30 PM - and could not put it down. Loved it. Absolutely loved it. Remember that feeling you got as a kid when you devoured The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe or whatever book excited you? That's the feeling I got from this book.
This morning I learn from that author A.S. King endured dozens of rejections for this book, including an excoriating bashing from one agent. She says
There are about 80-100 agents who turned down D100D--but it wasn't in great shape when I sent it to most of them. Janet [Reid] rejected one of my literary novels, too, but again--while it was not in great shape, which means she was ultimately right. (Of course she was right all along.)Yet another reason why we should never, ever give up.
But there was one agent I will never forget, who ripped the entire concept of D100D to pieces for about 30 minutes at a conference banquet, and told me 1000 different reasons why D100D "would never sell." One was that any animals in books "never work." ("Kiss of death," she said.) One was that "no one wants to read about pirates" and another was "reincarnation is pretty dumb." The list was long, and she said all of this without reading one word! After 30 minutes, I excused myself, went to the hotel bar and bummed a cigarette off a complete stranger. I hadn't smoked in 3 months. One day, I will thank that agent for the favor she did me. She taught me that nobody, no matter how much of a so-called expert they claim to be, really knows what's "in" or "out" or what any of us should write. - lifted with A.S. King's approval from her comment in The Flux Blog, in response to this Janet Reid posting
(A.S. King tells me that DUST OF 100 DOGS is now in its third printing, and she's just sold a second book. I've love to ask this particular agent what she thought of THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN, which involved a dog and reincarnation - and parents-in-law in lieu of pirates).
Note to Pinecone: Don't buy this; I'll send you a copy as a thank-you.You can flog it to your book club.