I recently took part in a workshop for pitching one’s book in front of an agent. It had to be done in 90 seconds! This seemed like a tall order. I wrote it and rewrote it till I was finally satisfied. This is what I came up with.
“This book is a memoir. It is about two people, my Canadian mother and myself. It is a story of exile and alienation, of different cultures, a story of courage and resilience, a psychological study and a spiritual exploration.
I was born in France in 1928, my mother was unmarried and I never knew my father. When I was four my mother had to find work, having lost all her money in the Depression. I lived with Catholic nuns for three years until my mother took me away. We came to England when I was nine. Too late, we found that I was stateless, my birth never having been registered.
“But I’m alive, I exist!”
I have just spoken these word to the Personnel Officer in NATO. I am 31 years old and the year is 1959. I have been offered a job by NATO. I have come to Paris with all my belongings, including my mother. But now it seems that without a passport I cannot live and work in Paris.
Read this book to find out what brought Daphne to this point, and what happened to her afterwards.
I did eventually work for NATO and my mother lived with me till she died. Now retired, I live in Bath and pursue a creative life, painting, singing and writing. I have done writing courses in Bath and online with Julia McCutcheon.”
I felt terribly nervous before reading this out to a group of people whom I did not know, never having talked about my story before, but I need not have worried. It got a very good reception and I had some helpful and constructive advice from the agent.
I felt as though I had crashed through an invisible barrier and landed safely on the other side.
I hope in my next piece to publish a podcast of the beginning of my book.