FINALLY, finally, I can tell you that I have signed a 2-book deal with HQ Digital (Harper Collins). Squee! Eek! and other words of excitement.
I have known about this, of course, for a little while (sorry) but I was sworn to secrecy, on pain of death (!) because the publishers’ marketing team have a strict schedule for announcing these things and if I’d blabbed, I may well have put a spanner in the works. Whoops! Wouldn’t have been the best start.
So, now I don’t have to pretend any longer, which is a relief.
I have been out for most of the day, as my two classes at Chipping Norton Theatre started again. Yes, it was ‘back to school’ for me as well as the millions of school children who returned to the classroom this morning. And very strange it felt too, after 18 months away (including a year of teaching on Zoom).
In fact, what with that and the impending announcement from HQ, I hardly slept last night. It was like the night before Christmas!
When I got home and switched on the laptop and saw all the lovely messages of congratulation on Twitter and Facebook, I must admit, I welled up a bit (overtired, moi?). And they’re still coming in now….!
I am right in the middle of editing the novel, which had the working title ‘Maggie’s War’ but which is to be called ‘A Wartime Secret’ when it comes out in January 2022, firstly as an e-book and then, a few weeks later, as a paperback.
It’s a WW2 saga. But more than that, I cannot tell you – yet – (erm, mainly because it’s still being tweaked, here and there).
So, what are the 3 important things I did, that led directly to this happy day?
1. I did NaNoWriMo. A few times. And learned from it. I learned how to ‘churn’ the words out (to be sculpted and manicured later, of course). I also learned what not to do – ie: that I need to plan, at least a little bit. And when I did NaNoWriMo in November 2019, I wrote a big chunk of this now-to-be-published novel.
2. I joined the RNA. The Romantic Novelists’ Association. My novel has got romantic aspects to it but I wouldn’t describe it as a ‘romance’, per se. As long as your work has relationships or, obviously, an element of romance in it –then you qualify to apply for a place on the NWS (New Writers’ Scheme) and as part of that NWS membership, you can get a full manuscript critique. And not only that, there’s a deadline. I
need like deadlines.
But it’s not only the critique that’s good about the NWS. Everyone involved in the RNA is serious about their writing and about getting published. And it rubs off and makes you take your writing more seriously too.
3. I got into Twitter! Actually, this happened a long time ago and I am a big fan of the Twitters. So, when those lovely people at the Kate Nash Literary Agency announced their competition (on Twitter) for writers with unfinished novels last year… I saw it and because I’d done 1 and 2, I had a partially-finished novel and a synopsis, that I didn’t think was too bad. So I sent it in .. and got an agent. And my agent encouraged/worked with me to get the novel finished and then sent it out and… well, I’ll shut up now. You know the rest!