There is a post over at Tracing My Way From Birth about the spooky experiences writers can sometimes have, which reminds me of a spooky moment I had once with a manuscript.
I talked about this here on my blog in April last year, but I'll retell the story for those who haven't been following me for that long!
Soon after starting to flirt to get the attention of an agent for my first novel, by sending out numerous copies of the first three chapters, I got a phonecall from an agent who wanted to see the entire book.
I was delighted ... but then quickly gobsmacked!
On a final reading of the work before posting it off, I discovered that buried in the middle of a late chapter was a minor character whose name was exactly the same as the agent asking to see the novel - the same first and last names!
You can imagine my panic and how baffled I was.
Of course, I changed the name. I didn't want the agent to think I was shamelessly trying to sweeten him up by putting his name in my work, and I dared not tell him about the incredible coincidence in case he thought I was a fruit cake!
It was either an amazingly spooky coincidence or maybe the agent's name was already in my head when I sat down to write the chapter in question. Had I been looking through a list of agents beforehand and some names had stuck in my conscience?
One of my friends preferred to insist that it was a "sign from the universe", that my book was supposed to be in that agent's hands. That theory was put to sleep when the man in question decided not to take the book any further. My friend, forever the optimist, quickly added, "But you did delete the agent's name from your work, didn't you? If you'd kept it in, instead of getting all freaked out ... '
We will never know.
But maybe now I should be writing the names Penguin, Macmillan, Faber and Faber and Random House all through my work.
(By the way, I took the spooky picture above at one of the light festivals that take place every year in Lyon.)