Here’s a post I sometimes wondered if I’d ever get a chance to write.
Yep. I’ve flipping done it. I have a publishing contract!
I am now an author who will be published by the fabulous Bloodhound Books. They’re an independent publisher with a great reputation and going from strength to strength. I’m so proud to be part of it. Here’s the official release from their website: https://www.bloodhoundbooks.com/new-blog/2019/5/8/new-author-to-join-the-bloodhound-team
Bloodhound Books and I are a perfect fit. They specialise in thrillers, chillers, crime, and mystery.
My book is a thriller and the first in a series. I hope to continue with Bloodhound Books throughout the series.
I love that this is an independent agency. They have a personable approach, with a proven track record of success with excellent authors.
The Road There
I began writing the first draft of the novel after my Mum died. It was a strange and confusing time. I needed something to hold on to and concentrate on.
I’d planned and researched the novel but couldn’t start writing. Mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer. My head certainly wasn’t in the writing game. Later, hospice life made it difficult to find any extra time.
When I finally began writing the first draft it seemed to just pour out of me. That’s when I knew my novel was meant to be. It helps that I’ve written about the 1980s.
I’m an eighties girl. I love the music, the memories, the films, and poking fun at the fashions. Partially setting my novel in that decade made sense.
I also decided to have the novel’s main death happen on a 1980s council estate in Oxfordshire. If you know me, you’ll smile and nod. It’s where I came from. Just to be clear though, the novel is NOT set on that particular estate in that specific town.
The novel was written, numerous drafts happened, and editing was the usual torture. Other writers know the drill.
Next step, trying to get it published…
I am not a smug, charmed person. Life has dealt me some pretty crappy deals. Woe is me but I want to put this into perspective. This contract didn’t come easy.
My skin wasn’t the rhino hide querying and submitting writers are told they must have. I’d been through episodes of severe depression. Anxiety liked to party in my head. Sometimes it still does. I try to decline the invitation.
The first time I sent a submission to an agent I thought I’d have a heart attack.
The first time I was rejected it felt like the world had fallen off its axis.
Then the second, third, fourth, and fifth rejections come in. You become blasé about it. It’s the new norm.
It’s like being in prison. At the beginning of your sentence it’s tough. You don’t know what to do, how to fit in, and how not to stand out too much. You try to do it right and get through.
As you continue doing bird, others join you. You try to tell them what to expect but you can never fully prepare them. You’re in this together.
You live out your sentence, trying to be noticed for your good behaviour by way of your great novel. The parole board often deny you your liberty. You keep trying because you really want it.
One day the gatekeepers tell you you’re free. You’ve been accepted. Prepare to enter a new world.
Analogies aside, I plugged away with submitting to agents and publishers. I was rejected many, many times. I give a snarky smile every time someone quotes how often JK Rowling and Stephen King were rejected. I win.
I was ready to give up. This is a statement and not a ploy to make me sound like a fighter against the odds. Every querying writer is in the same position.
I knew of Bloodhound Books and admired the work of many of their authors. I’d kept their email address for future reference. They’re popular with submitting writers and I was waiting for a window.
That window opened. I submitted.
Soon after, they requested the full manuscript.
Three days later I signed with Bloodhound Books.
Every single rejection before has paled into significance. I’m where I want to be.
What’s the Novel About?
I won’t name the novel at this stage just in case the title changes.
The novel is about a trainee counsellor who thinks she killed a girl, back in 1987.
Jen fought with Kelly on a train track next to their council estate. After the altercation, Kelly’s body was found. A train had run over her. Was Kelly dead before or after the impact?
Kelly’s dying mother asks Jen for help in finding out what really happened. Jen feels she has to help because Doreen is dying. Besides, if Jen is on the inside, she can steer Doreen and her old friend, Claire, away from the truth.
Jen doesn’t reckon on Claire’s reporter skills and the tendency for past secrets to always come to light.
The reader is transported back to the 1980s, watching events unfold that will have consequences in the present.
It’s time to go back.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me on this blog and social media. Right from when I began writing, I’ve made such encouraging virtual friends. I may never meet you but you’re important to me.
Thank you to all the writers who have given me advice and read my rants. Only writers really get it!
Thank you to my brilliant beta readers. The generosity of your time and critique helped to make the novel something a publisher accepted.
Thank you to the friends and family who believed in me when others didn’t. You know who you are.
Thank you to the bestest ever friend anyone could ever wish for but could never deserve, Belinda. You picked me up from the floor a billion times over the years. You’ve seen me at my worst and best. Now it’s the very best. You’re bloody marvellous!
Thank you to my mum who showed me that even when it seems hopeless, even when it feels like it will always be dark, there’s a chink of light if you stand up and keep fighting. My mum was the bravest person I know. I hope to have more of her fighting spirit along the way. I wish she could know what has happened.
Thank you to my rock, my husband. Because of him, I became a writer. He believed in me before I did. He facilitated my writing and has never faltered in his support. This is his victory too.
I’ll Keep You Updated!
Keep checking this site and my social media for updates on the book.
I hope you’ll consider buying the novel and funding my chocolate habit. The cats would like a few more treats too!