Virginia Barton

19 July 2017: Beloved Snail


19 July 2017


You will be heartily tired of those two words before long. The Snail has broken cover! Come out from under a flower pot and is now rampant! Exposed to the rigours of the market.

I speak not of helix aspersa but of my book which crawled off the shelf labelled “Look what I’ve done!” at Amazon — i.e. it’s a self-published jobbie.


Well no self-respecting publisher would have looked at such an old-fashioned, sexless, hide-bound and by-golly-written-by-a-Catholic book. So we didn’t even try. I’m too old for rejections.

Beloved Snail coverI say “we” advisedly. The Editor, who is an old pal, an American (and a prizewinning author), has spent hours and hours on Beloved Snail. He has done all this for friendship’s sake; no rewards or renumeration, for nothing except much gratitude.

To loosely quote Le Carré: “This for friendship Max, I loved this man…”

If you’re scratching your head it’s Claus Kretchmar referring to Otto Leipzig, “the Magician” in Smiley’s People.


Personally I’d far rather have a baby than write a book. The pain in both cases is ghastly, but a baby will become a darling, fascinating, beautiful, rewarding person — which a slim volume most certainly will not.

The aforementioned Editor’s grandmother said: “Once you have children you’re tired for the rest of your life!”

Well I’m not so sure. Putting a book together could be even more exhausting. I’ve been to sleep with words, woken up with sentences, exhausted myself with chasing quotes and ruined my eyesight with copy/pasting. And all at the most unorthodox times. However, you can shut it up in the back of a drawer and forget it while you go on hols., or tear it up, or shove it in the fire, or shred it. Or start again. You can’t do that with a baby – perish the thought.

There must be a middle way – after all, think of JK Rowling!

Find Beloved Snail here.





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