So ? it?s a difficult business and just because I, about to start my 14th novel, have had loads of them published before, doesn?t mean I?ll have another one published. In 2002 I finished the first couple of drafts of my 7th novel State of Happiness. My then publisher Sceptre, the literary imprint at Hodder, didn?t want it. I?d had a feeling they wouldn?t and had ? again ? written it out of contract with an assumption it probably wasn?t for them. The trouble was, it wasn?t for anyone else either. The six main publishing houses my agent went to, all of whom had editors who?d said to her ?Please can we have Stella Duffy?s next book?? turned it down. It wasn?t what they expected. I wasn?t writing a book like the last book. I have never written a book like the last book. They wanted a book like the last book. Publishing likes that. A box, a hook, a rope to keep you on, tie you in, and fair enough. As I said, it?s a business. Eventually Virago bought it and I?ve now been with them for almost a decade. That book, the one we couldn?t sell, has been one of my most successful. State of Happiness was my first Orange long-listing, it was the book optioned by the Danish company Zentropa, it was the book on which I was paid well to learn to adapt to film with a brilliant director guiding me, and it?s the book I re-wrote again this year for the producers to take to Cannes and am still waiting to hear what next. Nothing is wasted, but it can feel bloody hard in the middle of it.