A Year In France – Episode 21

Supplied © A Year In France illustration by Mandy Dixon

An hour later, sitting on the sofa letting the latest episode of some reality show wash over her, Maddy thought again about leaving and going it alone.

Dannie’s remark about there always being one difficult person to work with had touched a nerve. If she ran her own company she’d make sure that everyone worked well together – that there weren’t any people like Leah in her team, upsetting things.

She sighed. Was she brave enough to go it alone, though? Was she experienced enough? Eight years in the publishing industry had to count for something.

Maybe a couple of her current authors would follow her, although she doubted Kirsty would allow that to happen.

Surely once it was known she was setting up on her own, authors would approach her and she’d soon build a client list.

The time-slip manuscript she’d enjoyed was lying on the table in front of her. She would really like the author of that novel as a client, but the story had been sent to the agency and not her personally, so she was morally bound not to poach it from Kirsty.

Maddy sighed and Dannie glanced across at her.


“Just working some things out in my head,” Maddy admitted. “I’m wondering if I’m brave enough to leave the agency and start my own.”

“It’s a big step,” Dannie said. “But you must have lots of contacts in the business.”

Maddy nodded.

“I do. But cash flow would be a problem until I had a decent client list. I’ve got some savings, but not enough to last me more than a couple of months.”

“I can’t help you there,” Dannie said. “Although I can start paying you rent soon, if that helps?”

“We’ll stick to our original arrangement and work something out if you decide to stay,” Maddy said. “No, what I need is a business loan and I can’t see the bank giving me that.”

But Julia would, a little voice in her head said.

Could she ask Julia? What was that old saying about never mixing friends and business?

“Who’s Julia?”

Startled, Maddy looked at Dannie, before realising she must have spoken her thought out loud.

“My old flatmate. I think I told you she got married recently and went to live in France. She’s offered me a loan before to start my own agency.”

“Well, there’s your answer, then,” Dannie told her. “Go for it. Ring her and arrange it. Then you can give Kirsty your notice first thing on Monday morning.”

Maddy laughed.

“I love your optimism. I’ll ring her later to ask.”

But there was no reply when she rang Julia’s mobile later that evening.

Over the next couple of days, in between trying to speak to Julia, she mapped out a business plan, sketched out a trade announcement, started to design a website and doodled on pages of her notebook trying to come up with a catchy name for the agency, before settling on the obvious one.

She’d also written her letter of resignation. First thing on Monday morning she would hand it in.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.