I arrived back from the picturesque mountains of Snowdonia with some exciting news last week. The publishers (with whom I have been working on a year long mentoring programme) are impressed with the work on my novel and keen to see it develop further.
In a conversation that i’ve often imagined, they told me my book is commercial, with the potential to attract agents from larger presses. Therefore, I will spend this year completing the final, full size draft and return to them next year for further advice.
I was on a high, as I left the cottage and stepped outside. I was miles from home, in one of the most beautiful places I had ever been and my dream was within reach. It was a surreal feeling.. which after some time to indulge, sent me to the contact list on my phone. I had to share it. People’s reactions ensured I was not exaggerating.. this was big. This could be big. It was everything I had worked for and wanted for a long time. It was closer now than it ever had been. But there was still work to be done.
I am still in that cloud of excitement. As I tap away at my keyboard, creating new scenes for my characters and extending old ones. The encouragement has helped bring my story to life, my characters are in my head all of the time, begging me to tell their stories.
It will be a long year of hard work ahead of me. But, hopefully, it will be worth it.
The writers on the residential were all so talented. Pete Marshall read work from his books In Loco Parentis (a poetry collection based on experiences of working with children in care) and Agog, a novel set in North Wales. Anne Drysdale read from several published collections of poetry and short stories. Jan Fortune read an extract from her collection of poetry based on the slate mine community of Blaenau Ffestiniog. And Rowan Fortune Wood read an extract from the novel from his PHD in Utopian novel writing.
There was such a variety of style and talent amongst the mentoring students too. I met some very eclectic and creative people with a range of talents in poetry and prose. The support of the group during the workshops and readings was exceptional too. I learnt a lot. Was constantly imspired and encouraged to write. I would return in a heart beat.
Meanwhile, I intend to keep the inspiration going by reading some new authors and classics I’ve never got round to. I downloaded Hemingway’s A moveable feast and A farewell to Arms on my kindle to read when my paperbacks are finished. In a week’s time I’m heading to London to see the stage play of Matilda. I am so excited about that. The trip also included the harry potter studio tour in Watford. Something which I have been told is magnificent, and a must for any fan of JK Rowling’s franchise.
Aside from that, i’ll be continuing to work on my new novel, which gained positive feedback from the group in North Wales. A comparison to Thomas Hardy’s opening scenes of The Return of the Native was an unbelievable compliment. If I could get anywhere near as good as Hardy, I would be very happy.
I am hoping I might be able to pick up some freelance work, maybe reviewing or writing for a newspaper or magazine in my spare time. I quite like the idea of doing film or book reviews as a break from the theatre reivews that I did last year. So if anyone knows of any work, let me know!