Having published my first three novels, Collins rejected my fourth. It was called Dreamer's Cat and is a science fiction mystery set in a world where virtual reality is a way of life. It was very different from the first three and I'm not surprised that they didn't want it. But what Collins didn't do is to ask me what I was working on at the time. When I approached Gerald Seymour's agent - Michael Sissons at Peters, Fraser and Dunlop - he agreed that Dreamer's Cat wasn't publishable but he did ask what else I was writing. I told him I was writing a novel called The Chinaman, where a former VC assassin starts a new life in London only to have his family killed in an IRA bombing. Michael loved the idea, begged me to finish it, and then sold it for a six-figure sum in the UK and for even more in the US.
Incidentally, I went to self-publish Dreamer's Cat as an eBook many years later and sold over 100,000 copies. You can read about my self-published books here - MY SELF PUBLISHED E-BOOKS