We are delighted to introduce you to the seventeen authors contending for the coveted Joan Hessayon Award in 2018. Before the winner is announced at the RNA’s Summer Party in Oxford in May, you can find out more about each of the authors here.
Welcome to the RNA blog, Erin, and congratulations on being one of the contenders for this year’s award. How long have you been writing? Is this your first published piece?
I’ve been writing for most of my life, a hobby known to a very small handful of friends. I’ve always wanted to write fiction and as my confidence grew I was willing to share my work. Over the years, I’ve written novels, short stories and poetry. A Christmas Wish is my first published novel.
How many years were you a member of the NWS and did you submit a manuscript each year?
I joined the NWS scheme in 2013, and submitted each year. One year I submitted a partial and the following year based on feedback received submitted the full manuscript – later to be renamed and published as A Christmas Wish.
What came first, agent or publisher?
I was lucky in that they arrived almost together. I was being considered by a publisher, had received a contract offer and a good friend introduced me to David Headley from DHH Literary Agency. The two events happened on consecutive days.
How did you find your publisher?
I was attending a weekend writing retreat organised by Rowan Coleman and Julie Cohen. Lizzy Kremer, agent to Rowan, asked if I would make contact with a publisher who was looking for a Christmas book. I emailed immediately and the editor asked to see my manuscript…
Do you have a contract for one book or more?
Aria/Head of Zeus offered me a three book contract on reading A Christmas Wish.
When was your book published?
A Christmas Wish was published on 1 August 2017.
Tell us something about your book.
Flora Phillips had an unfortunate start in life. She was abandoned as a new born baby on a doorstep. Despite being adopted and receiving plenty of love and attention from her adoptive family, she feels that her life is a disaster having reached her 30th birthday without a husband, her own home or a career. She blames her short falls on her beginnings. On Christmas Eve, Flora returns to the village of her birth seeking the truth in order to secure a happier future.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently rewriting a manuscript which I created years ago. I love the story but recognise that my style and skill has developed since I penned the original novel. I’m also daydreaming about a new idea and jotting potential plots points as they spring to life.
What piece of advice would you give current members of the NWS?
Write every day – that way every day will take you a step nearer to your dream.
Find out more about Erin: