Welcome back Sharon! What a phenomenal year you've had. I'm thrilled to have you back on the blog and sharing everything that has happened...so far!
2014 has been a pretty amazing year for me. Since taking part in the summer Path to Publication feature, several things have happened.
One day during the summer I was having coffee and cake with my lovely writing pals, Julie Heslington and Alex Weston, who write as Jessica Redland and Alys West. They told me all about a venture their writing group, The Write Romantics, had embarked upon. The plan was to put together an anthology of short stories with winter or Christmas themes and publish it, with all proceeds going to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and the Teenage Cancer Trust, causes that were close to the group’s hearts, particularly Alex’s as her nephew suffers from cystic fibrosis.
It sounded like a great idea, and I wished them well. It was only a day or so later when I got a message from Alex, asking me if I’d consider taking part in the project and writing a short story for the anthology. I’m not a short story writer, but I said I would give it a go. Eventually I came up with The Other Side of Christmas, and to my relief it was approved by the rest of the group and included in the book which eventually became Winter Tales. It was released on 8th November and has had some really good reviews and sold well, helping us to raise much needed money for the charities. So in November I became a published author!
Not long after submitting my story I got a message from the Write Romantics, asking me if I’d like to join the group. Would I? Of course I would! So I’m now a Write Romantic myself, and I couldn’t ask to be part of a friendlier, more supportive group of writers, who are not only extremely talented but are genuinely lovely people, too. It’s made a huge difference to my confidence and I’m very happy that they took me under their wing and made me so welcome.
I started submitting There Must Be An Angel, my first novel, to publishers at the end of May. I submitted to ten, just to test the water, and was lucky enough to receive some very positive rejections from a few of them. Yes, I feel I was lucky, because some of the publishers still hadn’t replied only a week ago, and I know that often a rejection is quite curt, but I got some very encouraging comments from most of them and it didn’t feel too disheartening. The biggest news is that I have now actually got a deal with Fabrian Books, a small independent publisher, and it’s for the whole Kearton Bay series of four books. There Must Be An Angel will be released in March, and I’m so delighted that it’s found such a good home!
I also got a really positive report back from the NWS for my second novel, A Kiss from a Rose, and really it couldn’t have been any better. Because Fabrian is a new publisher it doesn’t qualify me for full membership of the RNA so, after a lot of thinking, I made the decision not to continue on the New Writers’ Scheme next year. I found the critique invaluable, and the amount of support and the boost to your confidence that being a part of such an esteemed organisation gives you can’t be underestimated, but places on the scheme are extremely limited and there are a lot of writers out there who need and deserve a place. I don’t pretend that I’ve “made it” because my books are going to be published. I’m at the very beginning of a – hopefully – long writing career, with much to learn, but I feel I should give up my place and let someone else have a turn. So, until the day comes that I qualify for full membership, I’m stepping away from the RNA, but I’ll always be grateful to it and I’ll continue to follow the blog and stay in touch with many of its members via social media.
2014 has been brilliant as far as my writing career goes and I’m feeling very positive about 2015!