Life Cycle Of A Writer – Third Round-Up of 2015!

2015 continues at a pace and we’re doing our best to cram as much in this year as possible. We’ve had lots of edits between us recently so it’s been a bit quieter than usual, but the good news is that means we’ll have lots of NEW BOOKS for you to read in the near future. Here’s what we’ve all been up to:

Catherine: Signing my first contract with Carina UK and discovering what it is to be a real author. I’ve had my first set of revisions and lots of plans are afoot for 2016 when my new title and front cover will be revealed. And getting the second book ready so it’ll be available for pre-order by the time book one is out! 

Laura: I’ve had a bit of everything going on – school holidays, a DD with her leg in plaster, and edits for book 3. I have a few events coming up, about which I am excited, but more on those nearer the times.

Lucie: It has been an incredibly busy time for me but unfortunately, not a lot of it is book related. What with the summer holidays (always a time that I struggle to get writing done) and work, I have found it difficult to get on with my edit. I start university today, too, so that will mean I need to start to manage my time a lot better! I have also just started a new vlog series on my blog, so that will hopefully help free up some time. Just need to work out how to fit in everything now…

Celia: Drank lots of wine, wrote like a mad woman all summer and notched up 60,000 brand new words for my WIP – a psychological coming-of-age story. Now back at work and have been The Boss for a while so no writing progress made; the next big push is to finish, edit and submit. Also limbering up for Tirgearr edits on the new one due out in January – Moondancing; a prequel to Little Boxes. Lastly, made the short list for the Exeter Story Prize. Final prize giving on October 17th so off on a jolly to Exeter with everything crossed.

Vanessa: School holidays have meant less writing time, but I’m deep into a new draft of my work-in-progress now, which will hopefully be ready to send to my agent in the next few weeks. I also had a lovely phone call to say I’ve made the Wells Literary Festival short story competition shortlist!

Sue: I’ve been a busy bee finishing my work-in-progress which took a bit longer than I had hoped but is now out and under consideration. I’ve also been working on a novella which I’ll be self-publishing with the Romaniac Press. I’m looking forward to sharing the cover and blurb here very soon.

Debbie:  It’s been four long years and four re-writes but having finally managed to write, ‘THE END,’ I’ve taken to eagerly stalking the postman each day as I wait for my work-in-progress to arrive back from the RNA NWS. In the meantime (and in an attempt to distract myself) I’m working on the first chapter of the next novel. 

Jan: EDITS! EDITS! EDITS! Working through her edits for As Weekends Go, the winner of Choc Lit’s Search For A Star competition, ready for publication. She’s now recovering.

All that in EIGHT WEEKS. I think it calls for another refill of the cake tin at Romaniac HQ.

girl at desk

Life Cycle Of A Writer: Becoming an overnight success!

Something struck me when listening to all of the recent Romaniac interviews. It was this: nearly every successful writer has done a lot of leg work to get where they are.

This was true in lots of the interviews, but I thought I’d highlight two in particular: Natalie Meg Evans and Brigid Coady.

Both of whom mention their long road to publication that almost had them give up, and yet with their persistence, they have both gone on to be award-winning authors.

It’s this persistence and determination to never give up that seems to be true of all authors.

You may have seen in this recent post, my own persistence and determination has paid off and I have signed a two book deal with Carina. I managed to write the majority of my book since having twins so while I don’t consider myself an overnight success, I do think it’s worth mentioning what I learned along the way.

1) Listen: There are so many writers willing to impart their knowledge.

2) Learn: Critique of your work might be hard to hear, but it will help you in the long run.

3) Support: Find writing friends who will support you in a healthy way.

4) Be persistent: I might be overusing this word in this blog, but it might be because I’m being persistent. 

5) Read: Read about writing. Read in your genre. Read because you love to.

6) Make writing a priority: I’ve been guilty of not always doing this. It’s only since having twins and my time has been very restricted that I’ve become more focused. Unless it is urgent, everything else can wait. Apart from the twins, I have been looking after them in between!

7) Reach out: Find writing groups to join. Find associations to join. Go to conferences. Go to parties. The people you meet might give you the single piece of advice you needed or end up being your editor one day.

8) Repeat: Do it again and again and again.

9) The End is never The End: Every writer I know continues to learn and I know really, my journey is just at the beginning. 

What else have you learned along the way that could be added to the list?

Catherine x

Life Cycle Of A Writer: A Spark Of An Idea

As Baby Number Two has gone off to the New Writers’ Scheme, I’m enjoying a few weeks of blissful ignorance of how much more work there is to come. I’ve been able to read, something which has been lacking these last few months when evenings and nap times have been dedicated to writing.

My mind is already toying with the next project. Looking back, Baby Number Two arrived after two light bulb moments. One was at a dinner party with friends when we were discussing the number of children we’d like to have. It created a What If? question in my head and I realised it would make a good story. The second light bulb moment was when I was at the London Paralympics where I realised it would be good to make the story into a documentary and it gave me the hero I needed. There were lots of smaller moments of inspiration along the way, but those were the main two.



Currently, for my next project, I have half an idea and I need a spark to come along to complete the idea. Personally, I find sitting at a keyboard is not the way to find the next eureka moment, so I tend to get out in the sunshine and seek the answers there. Although, as this project will involve some research, I might have to start reading up and hope there is inspiration amongst the pages.

Over the next few weeks I will be doing a further revision of Baby Number Two before sending it out to publishers and agents. And whilst I wait, I’m planning to make a start on my next project. So let’s hope the other half of the story comes to mind.

Where do you find your sparks of inspiration? Or is there no telling when they might pop up?


Catherine x



We’re joining in with Read On Get On and Southampton City Libraries with their campaign to encourage reading. They’re asking everyone to share photos of where they read and to share those pictures on facebook and twitter using the hashtag #ReadOnGetOn. All the details can be found on their website here. So here are some of the places we read:

This is me(Laura) reading in my conservatory. It's south-facing, and is the perfect place to read while I warm up. Daisy thinks so, too.

This is me(Laura) reading in my conservatory. It’s south-facing, and is the perfect place to read while I warm up.
Daisy thinks so, too.

The chair is a recliner, and I have a table and lamp next to it, with a space for a mug. I often come in here to write, as well.

The chair is a recliner, and I have a table and lamp next to it, with a space for a mug. I often come in here to write, as well.

Sue: When travelling; land, sea or air. Was handy today when I had to take a 20 minute bus ride.

Sue: When travelling; land, sea or air. Was handy today when I had to take a 20 minute bus ride.

Sue: Reading in the garden - such a treat after the winter

Sue: Reading in the garden – such a treat after the winter











My girls enjoying our local library!

Catherine: My girls enjoying our local library!


Who needs a reading snug when you can have a basket?

Who needs a reading snug when you can have a basket?


Catherine: My couch, where i collapse at the end of the day and where most of my reading and writing happens. It's moulded to my shape!

Catherine: My couch, where i collapse at the end of the day and where most of my reading and writing happens. It’s moulded to my shape!


So please join in on Facebook and twitter showing us where you read using the hashtag #ReadOnGetOn.


Life Cycle Of A Writer: Crossing the Finishing Line

Never has there been a more glorious moment than writing these two short, little words:


It is not the first time I’ve reached THE END of a manuscript, but this one has been something of a HERCULEAN effort. I had the idea for Baby Number Two in 2012 and after mulling it over for a while, I wrote the first chapter to enter into the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Much to my surprise, the first chapter was shortlisted and I was invited to attend the New Talent Reception prior to the Awards dinner. Looking back on my iPhone pictures these two photos are next to each other:


My lunatic grin at finding I was shortlisted


The reason I look quite so crazed in that photo?

I took this test on the day I was heading up to the New Talent Award Reception, so no champagne for me then. It also put a stop to any writing for some while, because that faint little line turned out to be twins and throughout pregnancy I was a) not able to write because my brain was mush and b) I didn’t want to jinx anything, which was silly and irrational, but that pretty much sums up emotions during pregnancy.

It was only once the twins arrived safely that I managed to consider writing again. This story that I’d created over a year ago needed to be written. But how, with twins? I talked about that on my last vlog and turning to the traditional pen and paper route worked for me. Gradually, at every given opportunity, I have scribbled away and have managed to get those 3,000 words to roughly 80,000 words.

It’s taken me nearly 3 years and I managed to produce two children quicker, but at long last I can say I’ve reached THE END.

Now truth be told, I should take this opportunity to recline on the sofa for a very long time. I’m pretty sure I need to, but as parenthood doesn’t allow that, and certainly not in the day time then I’m continuing to fill every spare minute and am already 100 pages into editing. Because crossing the finish line is a great feeling, but I’m still chasing the dream that everyone gets the chance to read this story.

Catherine x