Don’t Look Back in Regret
by Shirley Benton, the Dublin-based author of Looking for Leon
My first novel, Looking for Leon, was published on March 1st, 2011. It’s a book about a woman’s attempt to track down a man she met on holidays and couldn’t forget.
I spent many years grafting away at my writing, struggling with juggling like so many other people who have the desire to write but not the time, so to finally see Looking for Leon on the shelves was a moment I’ll never
I took a voluntary redundancy from my old job in IT in order to finish the book, and while it was a risk and a huge change of career path, I don’t regret it for one second. I was lucky enough to secure a three-book deal with Poolbeg less than a year after I left my job, and am still pinching myself at how things have worked out!
The last two months since the book’s release have been surreal but wonderful, with print and radio interviews aplenty and opportunities to meet many Irish writers whose work I’ve been reading for years.
The biggest tip I can give to other aspiring writers is to give it everything. You don’t want to look back on your life and think that this was something you would have liked to have achieved, but you didn’t have the time to do it. Examine your life and see where you can make time – it will involve sacrifices, but if you want to be published badly enough, those sacrifices will be worth it. One thing I’ve learned since I’ve been published is that the industry is going through a period of extreme change as a result of the recession and e-publishing, and writers have to work harder than ever to get a deal with publishers – but keep the faith, keep yourself glued to your laptop and stay focused. There is no reason in the world why you can’t be the next new author we read about – and believe me, it is so worth it when you get there! Good luck!