So this week started off with secrets, and over the next few days more top secrets will be uncovered as the Romaniacs talk about their works-in-progress. But before then – I’m going to let you in on another little secret…
I really should be editing now.
Ssh – don’t tell anyone. And while I’m in confessing mode – those times when I’m looking deep in thought, pen and notebook in hand? I’m not always thinking about my work-in-progress. Sometimes I’m dreaming about what my book launch would be like were I to get a book deal – where will it be? What will I wear? Who shall I invite?
I was lucky to receive an invitation to a real book launch on Thursday, that of Evonne Wareham for her debut novel Never Coming Home, a romantic thriller published this month by ChocLit. I happily went along, keen to make notes on behalf of the Romaniacs in preparation for that day when it might be one of our debut novels being launched.
Evonne is a member of the RNA and was a member of the New Writer’s Scheme for several years before getting her publishing deal with ChocLit. Her second book, a romantic thriller with paranormal elements called Out of Sight, Out of Mind, will be published by ChocLit in March 2013.
Waterstones in Cardiff was full for Evonne’s book launch, and after welcoming us all along, she led a very entertaining Q&A, where we heard all about her journey to publication – a journey as twisty-turny as her book! The staff brought out more and more chairs until they ran out and when it came to the book signing, the queue stretched the length of the shop. Luckily the delicious Cava and vast bowl of chocolates didn’t run out…
I was able to corner Evonne and ask her a few questions…
How much has the book changed since you first wrote it?
It’s bigger. In particular Choc-lit felt readers would want to know more about Devlin’s back story. I had a hard time getting it out of him, as he does not like to talk about himself. I’m not sure if he told me the whole story. In fact, I’m sure he didn’t, but what is there is true, because he is telling it to Kaz, not to me, and he would not lie to her.
Did the book go through the NWS and how helpful was the feedback?
Yes it did go through the scheme, and is one of this year’s contenders for the Joan Hessayon award. Having put a number of books, and partial manuscripts through the scheme, I’m always amazed at the generosity of the anonymous readers who give detailed feedback for what is well below the going rate for a critique of this kind. The one I got for Never Coming Home was no exception. A crit from the NWS always makes you think, because you know it is from someone who has professional experience as a writer or editor.
Would you consider becoming a reader for the NWS?
I haven’t volunteered yet. I would like to, but would not want to do it until I had time to do justice to any manuscript that I received. As I’m currently deeply embroiled in studying for my doctorate, I don’t think it would be fair to get involved. Once the studies are out of the way I would love to do it.
Has the whole publication process lived up to expectation?
This is difficult, as the whole thing still has a dream like quality. Having been trying for publication for a long time, I’d rather abandoned rosy day-dreams and settled for dogged determination and refusal to give up. (Although it did get close a few times!) Now, going through all the steps, seeing the cover illustration, holding the book for the first time, my first signing – it all has a breathless quality to it.
What do you think attracts you to the dark side with your writing?
I have no idea. It’s a bit worrying
Do you create the hero or heroine first?
It varies. In Never Coming Home, Devlin came first as the book began in my mind with the image of the fatal car crash that opens the book and he was the one to witness it. With Out of Sight, Madison was first on the scene, as I was very drawn to her vulnerabilities and doubts, because of the gift she has. She thinks she’s a freak, and has a hard time dealing with that. Jay is a total mystery when he arrives, as he has no memory.
What three words sum up the RNA for you?
Friendship, feedback, fun
So what are some of the things I learned from attending my very first book launch?
Invite lots of people
Make sure you have plenty of sparkly Cava and chocolates
Make sure you have enough chairs
Take a pen for signing books
Practice the perfect novelist signature
…but in order to get to that stage, first I have to finish my book. So I’m going back to my editing now, I’ll call in later to let you know how it’s going. In the meantime, be sure to pop in every day to find out all about what the other Romaniacs are working on, starting tomorrow with Celia.