Category Archives: The road to publication….blood, sweat and tequila’s!

How I got the Mills& Boon Riva Call……………

So, a little of my journey to publication…

I distinctively remember writing my first book at the age of eight…it was a romance, complete, if I remember correctly, with a chaste kiss. Since then, I never stopped writing completely and delved into it when I had time and frequently put it on hold ( a fancy way of saying that I gave up) when I was reminded of  how incredibly hard it was…as any author will know.

About six years ago, I was sitting in a wicker basket hanging from a massive tree on the edge of Lake Malawi and I’d just finished a lazy, sun-shiny conversation (the only type you can have in Malawi) with good friends and realized that writing made me happier than anything else and it was time to either take it seriously or give it up completely. I decided to take it seriously and started applying myself to learning the craft….I went on writing courses, I did on-line courses, I read books, I scoured the Internet for articles on writing.

And I wrote. And then I wrote some more. I managed to get an agent for a short time but when she immigrated to Australia, and shut down her agency, I genuinely thought that it was the end of the road. It’s so difficult getting an agent and the slush pile takes years…I think that was the lowest point in terms of my writing and I seriously wondered whether it was worth the time and effort.

Yet something inside me wouldn’t allow me to completely give up hope…

On a whim and without much expectation I entered a SA short story competition in 2010 that was run in one of our local magazines in conjunction with Mills & Boon. I didn’t win but came within in the top ten. The stories were sent off to M&B and Flo Nicoll asked me to develop the characters into a novel. I worked on it with her for about six months and then she sent it off to the powers that be. I really thought I had no chance, it was taking so long! Then Flo said that the Riva team had liked it but could I do some revisions (and they wanted the revisions in a week! Gasp! Dismay!). Long story short, Flo called and gave me the news, said they liked the revisions and said they’d buy my second book as well. My husband, who was home at the time, was listening to my conversation and later told me that he was rolling on the floor laughing because all he heard me say was ‘thank you, thank you, thank you!’ like the village idiot! LOL!

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