There were many milestones on my 'journey' - from the nugget of an idea in my head to holding the published book in my hand - and I am truly grateful to a lot of people for their support and encouragement along the way... and putting up with me wittering on about my book for a very long time!
This is just an outline and doesn't really do justice to how much each of these stepping stones meant to me. Firstly, thank you to friends and family who read numerous drafts, extracts and synopses and provided such valuable feedback and support. Author and TV screenwriter Matthew Hall, whose crime writing workshop I joined (and helped to organise in Catbrook Village Hall!) in February 2019. Editor Sara Starbuck for her incredibly detailed, professional advice when I had just finished version two later that year and who encouraged me to keep going. Bloomsbury Publishing, in conjunction with the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook, for a one day event at their wonderful London office when I learnt so much about how to pitch my novel to potential agents or publishing houses, in January 2020 just before Covid changed things for everyone. To Curtis Brown Creative for offering free writing courses and exercises during the 2020 lockdown, which enabled me to keep practising and practising... and practising!
Jericho Writers for providing such an incredible wealth of information about every aspect of writing and publishing; I relentlessly worked my way through their online resource centre and learnt so much. Then, in October 2020 I joined the Curtis Brown "How to write a psychological thriller" course led by author Erin Kelly. This was exactly what I needed - more learning and also a peer group of like-minded writers who provided each other with such valuable and constructive feedback... and moral support. At this stage, I was thinking about asking the local printer to run off a few copies for family and friends. However, as part of the CB course I was extremely fortunate to have a mentoring session with another great author Elle Croft - via Zoom of course! Her support and enthusiasm for my book was a turning point, and her wholehearted encouragement definitely made me properly consider getting it published.
So... after yet more research I approached Troubador with my manuscript and was flabbergasted when they replied within two days to say they would be happy to publish my book. I took a month to make up my mind on whether it was what I wanted to do. I knew that if I did I would need to be focused and this would require an investment of time, energy and due diligence. Since then working with Troubador has been another wonderful part of the journey - and one I will write about in another post. Suffice to say that is not the end - there is always so much more to learn and discover - and I can't wait to get on with the next book!