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I am still very much a newcomer when it comes to this writing business but here are a few musings from my journey so far.
Becoming a published author happened fast for me. The Last Heir of Monterrato was my first ever completed story, though there have been plenty of uncompleted ones over the years! The SYTYCW14 competition was the spur I needed to make me finish an entire manuscript, more to prove to myself that I could do it rather than with any real expectations that it would do well. To come second in that competition was beyond my wildest dreams.
That said, my inexperience has meant I have had a lot to learn – and fast!
The revisions were the first hurdle. They were enough to make my eyes water and I had to take a few deep breaths before I could start to tackle them. Harlequin asked if I would agree to have them posted on their SOLD! Blog – the first time this has ever happened. I wasn’t sure whether to be flattered or horrified but decided to go for it because I know I would have loved to have had a nosy peek at someone’s revision letter. Especially one as comprehensive as this! Here it is in all its wince-making glory:
I realised one valuable lesson very quickly – you can’t afford to be precious about your writing. You have to take it on the chin. It can be hard, especially when the advice is to slash through characters or scenes that you’ve slaved over or particularly liked, but ultimately, your editor really does know best and if you want to be published you need to do exactly what they say. And I could see that it was a far better story by the time I had finished. What I couldn’t see was why I hadn’t written it like that in the first place. ;)
But writing is hard, and getting it right even harder! Hopefully with experience I will dodge some of the pitfalls that littered my original manuscript (secondary characters assuming too much importance, relating scenes after they had happened rather than in the moment – I did that a lot!). The revisions for my second book, The Sheikh’s Wedding Contract, due out in July 2015, were really quite minor so I must have learnt something from book one and I allowed myself a quick pat on the back for that!
Getting a box full of books from Harlequin is a huge thrill and there is nothing like holding your own novel in your hand for the first time. I’m sure you must get used to it, that seasoned authors don’t gaze at their name with dewy eyes like I did, but for me it made the whole process seem real at last. Me, a published author! Who would have thought it?!
I know this is just the beginning and that I have a lot more to learn. But to anyone thinking of joining me I would say dive right in! Target your market, finish your manuscript and then hone it within an inch of its life, especially that vital first chapter. And make sure your unique voice shines through. Easy? No. But stick at it and that happy ending could be yours. J
The Last Heir of Monterrato is a story about love and loss and finding a way back from heartbreak to happiness.
A skydiving accident means that Rafael Revaldi, the Conte di Monterrato, has only one option if he wants to produce an heir – and that means winning back his estranged wife, Lottie. Will he ever be able to convince her to grant him his most desperate wish?
Finding herself back at the palazzo, Lottie is shocked by Rafael’s dramatic request. How can she say no when a baby would mean so much to both of them?
But a desire for a baby is not the only thing that binds this couple together. As they confront to the emotional scars of their marriage it soon becomes obvious that the fire and passion they once felt for each other is still very much alive. The question is, are they strong enough to resist? Or are things about to get hot?
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