I've been a published novelist for longer than I care to admit, since 1976. I'm frequently asked, however, how I first got published. It's an interesting story and involved both Robert Ludlum and James Baldwin, even though neither of them knew it --- or me --- at the time.
My first agent, a wonderful thorughly perofessional gentleman named Robert Lantz was representing Mr. Baldwin at the time. This was around 1975. Balwin, while a brilliant writer, had had some nasty dealings with the head of Dell Publishing. Dell held Jimmy's contract at the time and he could not legally write for anyone else until he gave Dell a book that was due to them. Nonetheless, he refused to deliver a manuscript to Dell and went to Paris to sit things out.
The book was due to The Dial Press, which Dell owned. Baldwin was widely quoted as saying....and I'm cleaning up the quote here, "that he was no longer picking cotton on Dell's planatation."
The book was due to The Dial Press. The editor in chief of The Dial Press was a stellar editor who was making a name for himself and a fair bit of money for the company publishing thriller-author Robert Ludlum. A best seller every year will do that for an editor. Anyway, Baldwin fled New York for Paris. The editor followed, the asignment being to get him to come happily back to Dial. As soon as the editor arrived, Baldwin fled to Algeria. Or maybe Tunisia. It hardly mattered because Baldwin was furious and simply wouldn 't do a book for Dell/Dial. The editor returned to NY without his quarry. Things were at a standstill.
That's where I entered the story, unpublished at age 27 and knowing enough to keep my mouth shut while these things went down. I had given 124 pages of a first novel to Mr. Lantz ten days eariler. Miraculously, his reader liked it and then HE liked it. It was in the same genre that Ludlum wrote in and which the editor at Dial excelled at editing and marketing.
My agent and the editor ran into each other one afternoon in July of 1974 in one of those swank Manhattan places where people used to have three martinis for lunch. The agent asked how things had gone in Europe. The editor told him, knowing full well that the agent already knew. The next steps would be lawyers, Baldwin dragged into US Courts, major authors boycotting Doubleday/Dell, Dial, maybe some civil rights demonstrations and.......but no so fast.
Mr. Lantz offered Dial the first look at a new adventure/espionage novelist (me). IF Dial wanted me after reading my 124 pages, he could sign me, but only IF Baldwin was released from his obligations at Doubleday. I was the literary bribe, so to speak, that would get Jimmy free from Dial. It seemed like a great idea to everyone. It seemed that way because it was. Paperwork was prepapred and paperwork was signed. Voila!...To make a much longer story short, Dial accepted my novel. The editor instructed me on how to raise it to a professional level as I finished writing it over the next ten months. I followed orders perfectly. I even felt prosperous on my $7500 advance. He then had Dial release Mr. Balwin from his obligation. Not surpringly, he went on to create fine books for other publishers. Ludlum did even batter. Of the three, I'm the pauper but I've gotten my fair share and I'm alive with books coming out again now in the very near future, no small accmplishment. So no complaints from me.
That''s how I got published. I met Ludlum many times later on and Baldwin once. Ludlum liked my name "Noel" and used it for an then-upcoming charcter named Noel Holcroft. That amused me. I don't know if either of them even knew that my career had been in their orbits for a month 1975. They would have been amused. They were both smart gifted men and fine writers in dfferent ways. This story was told to me by one of the principals two years later and another one confirmed it.
Me, I came out of it with my first publishing contract, for a book titled 'Reve
Noel Hynd is the author of books: Conspiracy in Kiev (The Russian Trilogy #1), Flowers from Berlin, Ghosts, Truman's Spy: A Cold War Spy Thriller, Midnight in Madrid (The Russian Trilogy #2), Countdown in Cairo (The Russian Trilogy #3), Hostage in Havana (The Cuban Trilogy #1), The Enemy Within, A Room For The Dead, Cemetery Of Angels