I started writing about ten years ago and whilst I found success with short stories, it took longer to get that novel deal. Then, September 2013, I finally signed with digital-first CarinaUK, Harlequin and they published my debut, Doubting Abbey. My fourth novel is called Game of Scones and is out this spring. Of course, before I signed on the dotted line, I had accrued several unpublished novels under the proverbial bed. What an exciting journey to write the first one! And what a shock it was, to receive my first rejection letter! I soon realised it would take longer to achieve my dream of becoming a published novelist, than I’d originally thought.
I think the most important step, in my journey, was finding that elusive writing “voice” that people talk about. The first book I wrote wasn’t a comedy. However slowly, during the next few years, I realised that my writing felt most natural and fluid when I added in laughs, because in real life I am quite a jokey sort of person. I had an editorial report done on one novel, and the reader felt I was “almost there” with my voice, that I just needed to let go. Eventually I understood that my writing was, indeed, at its best when I relaxed, stopped worrying about grammar, and wrote as I spoke – something which very much suits the versatile chick lit genre.
And then I read that an author should think about exactly who they are speaking to when they write, as that contributes towards voice as well. I think a lot of chick lit writers pen their stories as if they are speaking to a best friend, telling a tale over a bottle of wine – it’s casual, confessional and at times intimate…
All of this explains why I love writing chick lit. Starting a new story is like meeting a friend for coffee with a juicy bit of gossip I want to share. It’s full of laughs. At times sad, perhaps. And reflects real-life and the problems we all face whilst, hopefully tying things up on a cheerful note. My main aim is to entertain readers and make them laugh. Nothing pleases me more than a review which says I’ve made someone laugh.