Welcome to the last post of 2014. When we got together at the end of 2013 to start this blog the idea was that having a joint blog would be a group learning curve until such times as we were ready to blog ourselves and our writing careers had moved along enough to need to blog (or run a website) for ourselves. That time has come quicker than we envisaged and sadly that means that some of us are moving on to fresh fields in 2015. Good luck to the writers remaining with WMWP and no doubt readers will hear more about all of us as the year progresses. Below is an update of what we got up to in 2014 and what we have planned for 2015
I knew back in January that 2014 was going to be a year of change and adjustment for me. I had just left the day job and was embarking on the big adventure of becoming a full-time writer. Little did I know that I would also get engaged and married before the year was out! My one big writing aim for 2014 was to finish my novel and get it out to agents, and I am pleased to say that I managed just that, all 101,000 words of it. After one near miss with a top agency, it is being read by another London agent right now – and my fingers are well
and truly crossed! With more time at home, I had hoped to see my general writing output go up too, and it has! I have sold fifteen women’s magazine stories throughout the year as well as continuing to produce regular non-fiction pieces and book reviews for a range of professional childcare and nursery magazines. Looking at the year ahead, I am determined to get not only the current novel published but to crack on and finish the next, while still writing the articles that bring in an income and the shorter magazine fiction I love so much. I am very much a ‘Jill of all trades’ and as long as I am writing what I want to write and know that someone somewhere is enjoying reading it, then I will be happy!
This will sadly be my last post here, but you can still catch up with me and what’s happening in my writing life over on my own blog http://vivienhampshire.blogspot.co.uk/
2014 has been a pretty full on year. Having graduated from the Romantic Novelists’ (RNA) Association’s New Writers’ Scheme, I was waiting with equal measures of anxiety and excitement for the release of my first book. During this period I submitted a novella, After All These Years, to DC Thomson with the result that both books were published within three weeks of each other. The large print version of After All These Years has since been sold to Ulverscroft and will appear in libraries in due course. To add to the elation I was lucky enough, at the RNA Summer Conference, to have the opportunity of a one2one interview with Lisa Eveleigh of the Richford Becklow Literary Agency. To my delight Lisa agreed to represent me. In the meantime, due to a change in circumstances of the publisher of my debut novel, our contract was terminated by mutual agreement. The book is now available on Amazon under the new title, Safe Harbour.
The first draft of my third novel is now finished and in the editorial stage. A lot of work remains to be done but I’m hoping it will be ready to submit to publishers by late spring/early summer of 2015.
In January of this year I wrote a post entitled ‘A Truffle, Black Forest Gateau or Both’ concluding that I would be able to be a novelist and short story writer in tandem. So far this hasn’t proved to be the case. I have written and submitted very few of the latter. However, I recently had a story accepted in Australia and am hoping this will be the catalyst for me to write some more of what, after all, was my first love.
My most recent new venture has been to set up my own blog. Some of you may be aware that I also co-manage the RNA blog with Elaine Everest. Working on the premise that one can have too much of a good thing it is with regret that I must now withdraw from WriteMindsWritePlace to pursue my own individual venture. I wish the very best of luck to those who remain.
I said at the beginning of the year that I wanted to finish the novel I was working on by February, but I didn’t finish it till August, leaving very little time for editing (of which I normally do endlessly) before sending it to the RNA New Writers’ Scheme. Not a good idea, but personal and family events have rather overtaken everything else this year, so it’s a wonder I got it finished at all. What really suffered was my output of short stories, which I was hoping to get up to a reasonable level. It was not to be. As for getting a publisher for Ten Years Later, I have two currently interested, so I’m waiting for them to get back to me.
During November I did manage to write the rest of a novella I started a couple of years ago, adding 30,000 words to it, so that wasn’t too shabby. One of my goals for 2015 is to get that sent out and hopefully picked up. It would be great if Ten Years Later was picked by one of the interested parties, but if not, I’ll be sending it to do the rounds once more (hopefully resisting yet another edit!). I’ll also be editing my NWS entry. As for the short stories, I have hundreds of ideas outlined in notebooks, so I really need to get back to them. In addition, I have an idea for a new novel, but I need to resist it until I have some of the other items sorted out!
Currently I’m awaiting the publication of a story in an anthology, but don’t have a date as yet.
Looking back over my goals for 2014, I like to think I’ve done quite well.
I have completed two very different novel manuscripts, Taking it Back and Forgotten Love, which are currently with publishers; both needed changes to meet their requirements. One asked if I could change the setting, and of course I said yes, but this required a lot of research and a major rewrite. Although it was challenging, I’m proud I rose to it.
One of my goals was to write a short story each month, which I did at first, but then my novels took over and all thoughts of short stories disappeared. Looking back, this is something I regret. Writing and selling short stories gives me a lift in the short term. Metaphorically, novels are the marathon and short stories are the 100 yard sprint, but the short stories reinforce that my writing is on the right track, so this is something I need to get back to.
I have also been fortunate to have a short story accepted for an anthology, to be published by Pulse; the publication date has yet to be confirmed.
My 2015 goals are to have at least one of my novels published, although two would be great. Also, I aim to complete the novel I’m currently writing and research and start my next one, ideas are already buzzing around my head and distracting me from my current project.
I am also going to write my short stories again.
Where to begin? 2014 has been a fabulous year for me and not one that was planned twelve months ago. I’d not long seen my novel, Gracie’s War published with Myrmidon Books (Pulse). I was planning to work on a dog show related crime novel as well as another canine non-fiction book. I’d not long joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) as a committee member and was taking over control of their blog alongside Natalie Kleinman. I’d made a conscious effort to step back from my journalism work as well as short fiction in order to concentrate on writing books. A recent ‘big’ birthday had made me decide to follow my original writing dreams of being a novelist and not be side tracked any longer by shorter work.
Well, my writing life changed in January 2014 when I met literary agent, Caroline Sheldon of the eponymous Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency and was taken on for future representation. Already she has secured me a two book contract with Pan Macmillan which will see two saga based historical novels published in the next two years.
Another exciting event was in May when I was short listed for the RNA’s Joan Hessayon Award with Gracie’s War. I didn’t win but the excitement of standing alongside such good writers and the kudos being on such a short list gives a writer is something I’ll never forget.
So what do I have to look forward to in 2015? Hopefully the first of my books with Pan Macmillan will be published at the end of the year and Gracie’s War will go into large print in libraries during the summer. Apart from that I will be pounding the keyboards with book number two and outlining ideas for further novels. My dog show related crime novels are on hold for now but watch this space…
Like Viv and Natalie this will be my last blog post for WriteMindsWritePlace but I will shortly have my own writerly website and news of my writing and teaching can be found on www.thewriteplace.org.uk Facebook and also Twitter (@elaineeverest)
Don’t forget to keep following the WriteMindsWritePlace blog during 2015 to see what exciting things Elaine and Francesca have in store for readers.