Dear Auntie Romaniac: can’t wait, won’t wait…



Dear Auntie Romaniac,

I’m suffering from a bad case of  impatience. Life seems to be one long wait at the moment, mainly for emails that refuse to arrive.

I know it’s good to have lots of projects on the go and fingers in plenty of pies (am talking competition entries, submissions to agents etc, not real pies, sadly) but how can I get away from this constant, obsessive checking of my inbox? I still need to be at the computer to finish the WIP and it’s way too tempting to just have just one more little glance…aaargh, I’m doing it again!

Yours desperately,



Jan: You have my full sympathy on this one, Celia. I had to take drastic measures recently when I was working on my edits by actually unplugging the internet router/modem, you name it … Other than that, I find what (sometimes) works for me is to set the alarm on my phone (stick with me on this!) for certain times during the day/eve, say 10am, 1pm, 4pm, etc, and only look at emails/Facebook/Twitter at these points. I’m sure you will receive better solutions than these, so good luck! :)

Dear Auntie Romaniac…details, details, details…



Dear Auntie Romaniac,

I’ve got a practical dilemma this week rather than an imaginative one. In the writing basement is the prequel to Little Boxes, which came out last year. It’s called Moondancing, and it’s my first baby, started in the first place as a one-chapter assignment at college, developed over the years for fun and finally licked into some sort of shape and sent to the NWS. It then went back under the bed as, frankly, it was awful.

Now it’s been revamped, edited and generally given a spring clean and it’s been accepted for publishing. The problem is that the dates, ages, character details etc don’t always exactly match and flow into the next part of the story.

Where do I begin? LB is in ebook format only – copies of it and Moondancing are on my Kindle,  but can I do a proper job without printing them both out in full? Research and checking finer details are my two (very) weak spots).



SFTW – Party Frocks

This weekend, the majority of The Romaniacs will be at the RNA conference and tomorrow will be the gala dinner, so today we’re looking at frocks past!


Lucie - My dresses for the Gala dinners in previous years. I still haven't picked one for this year!

Lucie – My dresses for the Gala dinners in previous years. I still haven’t picked one for this year!


This was the HOT ONE at Sheffield! The venue, not us…although…

Dear Auntie Romaniac – I’m having a title trauma…



Dear Aunty Romaniac,

I’m writing a book set on a river cruise down the Rhone, and it’s turning out to be darker than anything I’ve ever done before, with a difficult relationship between a mother and daughter at its centre. I desperately want to call it ‘Hidden Depths’ but when I googled those words, there was another fairly recent novel with the same name; part of the Vera Stanhope detective series of TV fame.

Do I ditch my lovely title and go for the second choice, ‘Waterfall’, (which has also been used before, it seems) or start from scratch? Does the duplication matter? Or can anybody think of a better one?



Lucie Wheeler, Inspired by …

Photo credit:

Inspiration can sometimes be really hard to come by. If I could work out a way to bottle it – I’d be a millionaire! Lots of people in lots of professions need inspiration. All of us will use inspiration in some way, shape or form. Whether it is deciding what to cook for dinner, doing arts and crafts with the little ones, writing a story, painting a picture, taking a photograph or simply rearranging furniture in the living room because you’re bored of it. Tell me it’s not just me who does that? In my day job I am a nursery assistant. I need to use inspiration on a daily basis to entertain the children and help develop their skills. One day I might be making mud pies and the next, building a castle from cardboard boxes for the Princess who is to be rescued by Prince Charming. So I have had to learn to take inspiration from the littlest things. So why is it so hard to find? I don’t know the answer to that. Stress? The monotony of getting up, going to work, coming home, doing dinner, going to bed… every, single, day? Tiredness? Boredom? Who knows. But when inspiration does strike, it is AMAZING! You have to grab it with both hands and refuse to let it fizzle away. No, don’t let it go, just… one… more… minute! Inspiration was what began my writing journey. And the person who unlocked that passion and inspired me first, was J K Rowling. Reading Harry Potter changed the way I looked at books. I had enjoyed books previously, and I had favourite authors, but reading Harry Potter actually made ME want to write. Not just read, write! And it isn’t just her books that made me go WOW – she is an incredibly amazing woman. A few years back I watched a documentary on television about J K Rowling and her early life; how she came to writing, what her childhood was like and where the ideas came from. I cried. I watched the documentary and I cried. Because I felt so overpowered by inspiration. The things that woman had to overcome in her life, yet still, she made time to do her one passion. I looked at my life. I am very lucky and I have a supportive husband who gives me countless opportunities to write, attend writing talks/conferences/parties and also pay for training. So what is stopping me? Nothing, is the answer – so I did it.

Photo Credit:

Other inspirations in my life are the people around me. Life itself is fascinating. Instead of sitting on the train waiting for your stop, why not take in your surroundings and be inspired. Inspiration is everywhere – we just need to learn to tune into it. I also find photographs, music and paintings extremely inspiring. One might look at a painting and think it is a beautiful piece of art, I will look at it and think, there’s the setting for my next book, or, that’s where so and so would live. And I cant even begin to explain the feeling I get when a piece of music/song inspires me. It is magical. It’s easier said than done, what with our busy lifestyles, but sometimes, if we take a step back from life and actually take it in, you will find inspiration comes to you.

Life Cycle of a Writer – Real life

The time has come again for the next update from me. Unfortunately, this update won’t be as exciting as my others as I have taken a real slow down with my writing because of various reasons.

Any writer will tell you that sometimes, life just gets in the way and prevents you from spending the time that you wish you could on writing and everything book-related. That’s just life. It happens. And for me, this is how it has been recently. I have been doing more hours at my day job and my health took a little bit of a nosedive, too. However, I am hoping to be on the improve now, so fingers crossed.

Whilst I don’t have exciting book deal style news, I do have some other news. In September, I shall be going to university. It has been something that I have wanted to do for years, but, as I’ve said, life has a habit of getting in the way. However, this year I took the reins and DID IT! I applied and was accepted. I will be studying for my Early Childhood Degree and I cannot wait. Some of you may remember from my last update that I mentioned I was drafting a children’s series. Well, it is still very much in the early draft stage, however, I feel doing my degree can only deepen my understanding and help me to carve a better series. I love my day job as a nursery assistant and I am constantly striving to develop more, professionally as well as personally. I find children absolutely fascinating and I am really excited to be looking deeper into how they learn, grow and live. Whilst I love writing on the whole, my passion for writing for children is certainly getting stronger.

So, how will I find time to write come September when I am working, attending University, doing coursework, taking exams, looking after the house/child/husband/dogs? (Yes, I have three!)… my answer, I really don’t know. But, people do it. I am not the first and I most certainly will not be the last person to fit in the Impossible.

But I will do it. Because writing is what I love to do. Yes, it may take me a little longer to reach my ambition, but as long as I reach it, isn’t that what matters?

I know my post hasn’t been full of writing-related news, but this is exactly what this blog series is about. We are showing you a snippet into the lives of people who love to write and how they take their journey. Sometimes, we will have months where things seem to be snowballing and we are being shortlisted for things, and being offered contracts and meeting our heroes, and sometimes, we will have months of gruelling hospital visits, day jobs that take over and one family birthday party after another.

But that’s ok, because we are people too. We can have quieter months, so long as we go back to our passion as and when we can, that’s where a true writer is born.

All that is left for me to say is a huge thank you to everyone who has continued to support and encourage me over these difficult couple of months and I really hope to see lots of you at the RNA conference next month! I shall be attending from the Friday-Sunday – I can’t wait!

Much love to you all. Happy writing!

Lucie x

Life Cycle Of A Writer: Speaking in public – tips needed!

I’ve been making an effort to be brave lately, entering more competitions and generally putting my writing work out there more. Only it’s possible I’ve been too brave as last week I found out I’m a finalist in the London Book Fair Author HQ Write Stuff event. It involves a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch to a panel of agents. 


The last time I spoke in public was in March when I received the Katie Fforde bursary and the trophy toppled (you can see it starting to tumble in this picture) mid speeches. So I’m asking for any tips to help me with my pitch? What would you include in your two minutes if you were asked to pitch your latest novel?


Catherine x