Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Joan Fleming: Joan Hessayon award contender 2015


Today we welcome Joan Fleming to the blog. Joan is another of our contenders for this year’s Joan Hessayon award.

Congratulations on graduating the RNA New Writers’ Scheme. Can you tell us when you first decided that you wished to become a romantic novelist? 
When I started scribbling as a youngster, my stories were always full of romance: princesses being rescued by handsome heroes before falling in love. Moving from those childhood dreams to becoming a romantic novelist has been a long process. Joining a writing group affiliated to the Scottish Association of Writers helped to formalise my ideas. I began by writing short stories, but when I was told in several critiques that my story was more like the first chapter of a novel, I decided to give it a try. I joined the RNA New Writers’ Scheme – and here I am.
How many years were you a member of the NWS scheme and did you submit a different book each year? Which year’s book did you graduate with?
I submitted my first book in 2008. Altogether, I’ve sent four different novels, one twice. I was unable, through illness, to send one in 2011. I graduated with my 2012 entry.
One of my novels was full length, the others shorter. After the first one, I had in mind potential publishers, and my submissions were the appropriate length. With every entry, I received positive comments and advice which encouraged me to keep on writing novels.
How did you find your publisher?
One of the recommendations of my NWS reader (thank you once again), was that I submit to an e-publisher. A well-published friend (also a member of the RNA) suggested I try Tirgearr Publishing – who accepted it. I’ve been delighted with my experience with this lovely publishing house.
Promotion is a big part of an author’s working life. How did you promote your novel?
This has been a whole new learning curve for me. I’m on Facebook and Twitter and also several Yahoo groups. I’ve set up a website and a blog. In the early stages, the technology was really time-consuming, but I’m learning! I follow the advice of my publisher. I’ve had promotional cards printed, which I take to every writing-related event I attend (including the RNA conference). I also carry a few in my handbag!
What has happened to you as an author since that first sale?
I’ve met many new writing friends, both face to face and on-line. In finding my way around social media, I’ve linked up and shared experiences with other writers. Acceptance by a publisher has given me confidence to write another novel, which is almost ready for submission. The change of status from unpublished to published author has opened doors: full membership of the RNA and the Society of Authors.
How did you celebrate your first book sale?
The first sale came at midnight when the sites went live. We opened the champagne which was already in the fridge. Morning brought a lovely day with flowers and cards arriving by the minute – and more champagne. Later, I was taken out to lunch by close writing friends.
About Joan:
I was born and educated in Edinburgh, Scotland. After university there, I became a teacher of French and German for a short period in the London area, then in the West of Scotland.
Since leaving education, I now concentrate on creative writing. I’ve had short stories and articles published in magazines in both the UK and America. I’ve also had some success in writing competitions.
In addition to the Romantic Novelists’ Association, I’m a member of Erskine Writers, the Scottish Association of Writers, and the Society of Authors.
My interests include: reading, walking, travel, islands (anywhere!) and the life and work of Robert Burns. I now live in a flat on the outskirts of Glasgow overlooking the West Highland Way.
Links:
Thank you Joan and good luck with your writing career

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your very interesting post, Joan and many congrats and good luck with the book.
Gabrielle x

Kate Blackadder said...

All the best for the award, Joan.

Joan Fleming said...

Thank you, Gabrielle, for commenting and for your good wishes.

Joan Fleming said...

Thanks for visiting, Kate, and also for your good wishes.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Even though we've been friends for ages, I really enjoyed reading this great interview, Joan. It's a lovely début novel and I wish you lots of success with your writing (and the award!).

Helena Fairfax said...

I love how you celebrated your release, Joan. All the best for the award!

myraduffy said...

I so enjoyed your novel,Joan and lots of luck for the Awards.

Anne Stenhouse said...

Hi Joan, The summer Party is a lovely evening and I think you'll have a great time. Of course, if you were to bring the award back to Scotland, it would be the bubbles in the champagne. Best wishes, Anne stenhouse

Joan Fleming said...

Thank you so much for your kind words, Rosemary!

Joan Fleming said...

It's good of you to comment - thank you, Helena!

Joan Fleming said...

Thank you Myra for your good wishes! I'm pleased you enjoyed the book.

Joan Fleming said...

Thank you, Anne, for commenting. I hope to enjoy the party - whoever wins!

Janice Preston said...

I loved reading about your journey to publication, Joan. Good luck.

Joan Fleming said...

Thank you for your lovely comment, Janice.

Georgina Troy said...

Congratulations, Joan. I look forward to meeting you at the Summer Party. x

Joan Fleming said...

Thank you, Georgina. See you there!

Joan Fleming said...

Many thanks, Elaine, for hosting me on the blog.

Bill Kirton said...

I'm slipping in as the token male, Joan. Great to read of the path you took. Your commitment to and love of writing is very evident and being a contender for the award must feel terrific. Good luck with that and with the new novel.

JANICE HORTON said...

I loved reading about your writing life Joan and want to wish you every success with both your novel and your nomination for the award!
Janice xx

Joan Fleming said...

Thank you for 'slipping' in and for your encouraging comments, Bill. BTW, there's no male tokenism on this site!

Joan Fleming said...

Thank you for dropping in from your island paradise, Janice. And also for your good wishes. xx

Gwen Kirkwood said...

Sorry to be behind like the coo's tail! As you know I really enjoyed your novel and now I have enjoyed reading about you. I also know you achieved this while dealing with three of life's great upheavals - losing your husband, moving home, and recovering from an accident so I think your talent and courage deserve an extra big chunk of good luck - and yes it would be lovely if you bring the award back to Scotland.

Mary Smith said...

Lovely interview, Joan. Wishing you lots of luck for the award. Keeping fingers crossed for you.

Joan Fleming said...

Aw Gwen, you say the sweetest things. Thank you so much for your lovely message. I'm hoping to enjoy the party, whoever wins the award!

Joan Fleming said...

Thanks for dropping in, Mary, and for your good wishes!

Rae Cowie said...

Many congratulations on your nomination, Joan. I'll be keeping everything crossed on the night.

Elaine Everest said...

Thank you for answering all my questions, Joan and good luck xx

Joan Fleming said...

Thank you for your good wishes, Rae.
Joan