Gwyneth Williams shares her journey through the New Writers’ Scheme and out the other side.
Gwyneth
works full time as a Scientific Officer in the University of Leicester’s medical
school and writes in her lunch breaks. She is inspired to write about places
she knows and loves, and her first novel, Echoes in the Sand, is set mainly on
the Greek island of Zakynthos. She lives in Leicester with her husband and
daughter when she’s home from university, and two stray cats who moved in one
day and refused to leave.

Securing
a place on the New Writers’ Scheme has certainly been a pivotal moment in my
writing career, and I have to thank my fellow members of the Leicester Chapter
for encouraging me to join. My journey began in 2011 and despite suffering from
a terrible post-Christmas cold, something made me fill in that form and send it
off with fingers firmly crossed. Receiving that confirmation email made me
whoop with delight – it doesn’t take much!
I
worked on my novel from January to July – I was only two thirds of the way through
but knew it needed cutting – and sent it off as a partial typescript. My first
reader’s report was forthright and honest and gave me the kick I needed to
tackle a particular problem with my main character. I finished the novel and
sent off a full typescript the following year, and was astonished and delighted
to have it put forward for a second read.
The
reader’s report had my cheeks glowing at the praise – a total contrast to the
previous year, but proof that my original reader had been right – thank you,
whoever you are. The second reader felt it needed more work, but again the
comments I received were invaluable and I set about editing the novel before
sending it out to agents.
At
the 2012 Winter party I prepared to pitch to anyone who would listen, whilst
trying to hide my nerves behind a smile. Agents ARE human and very nice too as
I have discovered, and I received some great feedback and one even suggested I
added a snappy prologue – which I did and sent it out again. I received several
nice rejections, but rejections all the same.
Then
at the 2013 Summer party I met my agent – although neither of us knew it at the
time! I spied Kate Burke from Diane Banks Associates from across the room and
duly sent off my submission. Ten days later Kate emailed asking to see the
whole typescript and after several nervous weeks of waiting, she emailed again
asking to speak with me to discuss it. As soon as I heard her voice I knew she
was the agent for me and although she wanted several changes – including a
different title – I felt confident we could work together.
And
we did. Nine months later we had a novel we were both happy with and then followed several more weeks of anxiety as we waited to hear back from
editors. My book deal moment was quite exceptional as I was in Cyprus on the
last day of my holiday when Kate emailed, saying that a Serbian publisher
wanted to buy foreign rights. It’s unusual to sell foreign rights before UK rights,
but a week later she sold English digital rights to Endeavour Press and I had
my UK publisher.
Graduating
from the NWS and becoming a full member of the RNA was just as exciting as my
book deal moments. It was the result of four years hard work and proves that it
can happen to anyone!
Links:
Your excitement shines through, Gwyneth.Thank you for sharing and, I am sure, inspiring our readers.
The RNA Blog is
brought to you by
Elaine Everest and Natalie Kleinman.
If you would like
to write about the craft of writing or perhaps be interviewed about your
writing life please contact us at elaineeverest@aol.com

9 Comments
  1. Author
    Gwyneth Williams 3 years ago

    Thank you so much having me on the blog Elaine and Natalie!

  2. Author
    Lizzie Lamb 3 years ago

    Morning Gwyneth and anyone else who pops by. You have worked incredibly hard to secure an agent and to get your book out there. I remember its many renaissances when you used to read out at Leicester Writers' Club. Its working its way to the top of my TBR (and reviewed) pile on the kindle. More power to your elbow. You are one of the talented writers who makes up the Leicester Chapter – the Belmont Belles.

  3. Author
    Liz Ringrose 3 years ago

    I echo all that Lizzie says. You're an inspiration and proof that working hard will have its rewards. Well done. xx

  4. Author
    Gwyneth Williams 3 years ago

    Thank you so much for those kind words Lizzie. You are a great talent inspiration to all of us in the Leicester Chapter too!

  5. Author
    Gwyneth Williams 3 years ago

    Thank you Liz. Couldn't have done it without all your help and encouragement along the way! xx

  6. Author
    suzy henderson 3 years ago

    Hello Lizzie. Fantastic post & I enjoyed hearing about your journey to publication. I've just been accepted on to the NWS and I also whooped for joy on the 2nd/3rd Jan when I found out. Now I'm frantically working on mine, editing and cutting . . . Congratulations to you and best wishes for the future.

  7. Author
    Gwyneth Williams 3 years ago

    Thanks Suzy, I think you mean me! Good luck with your typescript, it's definitely worth all that hard work!

  8. Author
    cathy mansell 3 years ago

    Hi Gwyneth. i enjoyed reading your post. You certainly will inspire members on the New Writer' Scheme to persevere as you did.

    You have worked so hard and working full time as well can't have been easy. But, you've done it and you must be so proud and delighted by your success.

    Well done and I hope Echoes in the Sand sells shed loads. Cathy x

  9. Author
    Gwyneth Williams 3 years ago

    Thank you so much Cathy, I've taken my inspiration from those around me and I'm following in very illustrious footsteps – including yours! xx

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