Thirty years later, in the wake of a failed marriage, an unsatisfactory career and a deep sense of dissatisfaction, she finds the list...
That was where it all began. That was all I had to go on when I started to write the book I called "Unspoken".
I'm not one of those clever writers who can plan in advance. I sit down at the computer and start to write, without having a clue where the story's going. The characters and events pop into my head and introduce themselves, politely or otherwise, before making their escape through my fingers and appearing on the screen. I don't think about plots and sub plots, literary devices and story arcs. I just let it all tumble out and land in front of me. When I can write no more, I stop for the day. The next session will start with a little reshuffle. I can't really call it an edit, because I rarely change very much, unless it's wrong and I can't even begin to define how I know if something's wrong; that's up to the Muse. Once we've fixed what's wrong, I let the story carry on telling itself. It's as if I'm an observer; I laugh at the funny parts and I cry at the sad bits. I sympathise with the heroine and fall in love with the hero. I do what I can to facilitate their happy ending. That's how it was with "Unspoken". I thought I was writing a story about a 'bucket list', but the Muse had other ideas; we were writing a love story. We were writing about Lydia's coming-of-age, albeit middle-age. If my MC had been 20 years younger, this would have been 'chick-lit', but as she is 44 at the start of the story, it has to be 'hen-lit'.
To cut a long story short, I posted some of the chapters on a writers' website (authonomy.com) where it won an editorial review by being one of the top five books in August 2013. While I was waiting for the review, which took seven months, I submitted the MS to two agents who rejected it, and to Carina UK, (Harlequin's digital inprint). Carina UK said lots of lovely things, which I won't repeat here, and offered me a contract for publication. That's when the work really started. There were a few suggestions for tweaks and addition to the story, and I found it to be a steep learning curve working with experienced and knowledgeable people. It's like living the dream, in a way, when you hold a real contract in your hands!
The rewriting is now done; the manuscript is being prepared for publication as an e-book, and emails are whizzing back and forth about cover design and all sorts of wonderful things.
The book has a new title too. It will be released just after Christmas as "Always Something There to Remind Me". Someone, not a million miles from here, still can't really believe it.
Maybe I'll just jump up and down a few times and yell "WooHoo!" Then I'll get on with writing the next one ...