Have you always been a writer?
I came to writing really late, after I retired in fact. No! That’s not true. Much of my professional life has revolved around writing. It has been letters, policy documents, essays and reports. I quite enjoyed the stimulation of it all but it is what needed to be done.
I needed to write my first book, ‘Peace of Time’ but I’ve wanted to write the ones subsequently. The first, I self-published on Amazon. I learnt a huge amount through the process. I know now that the writing has structural errors but I’m pleased that I did it. I have learned very much since then. I wrote the second novel and have started the third. They are all either contemporary or historical romances.
What prompted you to join the RNA NWS this year?
Having discovered where I could have done better in my first book and having used Twitter much more since then I heard about the RNA (Romantic Novelists’ Association). I decided to apply for their NWS (New Writers’ Scheme) because it offered a review of a novel which would be very full and honest.
Having managed to keep my eyelids open late enough on the due date to apply, I was successful. Coincidentally my second book, ‘Sense and French Ability’ was very nearly ready, so having finished it, proof read until I nearly knew it off by heart and edited until I was blue in the face, I sent it off. I waited about eight weeks for the review. On studying the comments, they have been really helpful and have given me much food for thought. Some of the comments I was expecting, having read so much more about structure between writing and submitting it. The section on characters and being consistent was very useful too. Several of the other comments I have been able to address during the current edit.
Have you attended any events?
The other positive aspect in joining the RNA, for me, has been networking and meeting other like-minded people. I went to the Summer Party. As a complete novice I was unsure what to expect, what to wear, whether I would be standing alone and looking lost.
It was a great experience. I met some Twitter friends; I was able to put faces to names of people in the business; I picked up little titbits of useful information. The noise was phenomenal with everyone talking at once. People were friendly. I met some of the writers who also run the RNA.
It gave me the confidence to go to the conference from Friday to Sunday in the middle of July. I am really excited and full of anticipation. Some of the workshops sound really helpful.
What are you planning to do with the MS you submit?
I have almost finished the final edit following the RNA review of my book. I would have completed it by now but I lost 40,000 words and had to redo it. I don’t know how. The lesson is to save it in more than one place so now it’s on a memory stick and in Dropbox as well as on the laptop!
Currently, I’m thinking I shall try some Indie publishers as well as some of the big players. I’m not planning to self-publish again, at the moment. The reason is I should like to be considered for awards such as the RNA Joan Hessayon NWS Award and self-publishing would not be eligible. I should also like assistance with marketing. It is very time consuming to do that and I want to get on with my next book, ‘The Strong Sisters of WW1’, of which I have written 20,000 words so far.
What are your literary aspirations?
I enjoy the process of writing but I need to be honest too. It’s not the money at all but it would be marvellous to have a popular published novel of which our two daughters and four grand-daughters could be proud for me.
My mum was a published author of many titles. She always urged me to write the book in me. My first book is dedicated to her although she is no longer here to see it. Now that I have retired I have the time to do just as she suggested and I’m thoroughly enjoying it all.