Welcome to Heidi Swain, one of the talented contenders for this year's Joan Hessayon Award and graduate of the RNA New Writers' Scheme. Thank you for answering our questions, Heidi.
I recently discovered, courtesy of a school chum, that my literary aspirations were well known amongst my friends before I left school so therefore I would have to admit to writing for at least thirty years. However, I was in my thirties before I decided to really take my writing seriously and yes, The Cherry Tree Café is my first published novel.
How many years were you a member of the NWS and did you submit a manuscript each year?
I was a member of the NWS for just one year before securing my publishing deal.
What came first, agent or publisher?
My publisher came first. I haven’t looked for an agent yet!
How did you find your publisher?
I discovered my wonderful publisher through the joys of social media. Books and The City are the digital imprint of Simon and Schuster and in 2014 they opened their inbox to unsolicited manuscripts using the hashtag #onedayonly. I prepared my submission package, pressed send and the rest, as they say, is history.
Do you have a contract for one book or more?
My initial contract was for two e-books; The Cherry Tree Café and Summer at Skylark Farm (which will be published on June 2nd this year). In December 2015 I signed a contract for two more books, this time in both e-book and paperback format. Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market is scheduled for release on October 20th and the fourth (as yet untitled), will be published in the summer of 2017.
When was your book published?
The Cherry Tree Café was published on July 16th 2015
The Cherry Tree Café tells the story of Lizzie Dixon who, finding herself unceremoniously dumped on her birthday, moves back to Wynbridge, the East Anglian town she grew up in, and sets about helping her best friend Jemma run the Café.
Lizzie has a passion for sewing and crafting and eventually plucks up the courage to offer classes while Jemma perfects her baking. Lizzie’s high school crush Ben is fortuitously also back in town and along with the advances of local journalist Jay, Lizzie soon discovers she has much bigger decisions to make than just which cupcake to sample next!
What are you currently working on?
Summer at Skylark Farm is now ready for publication so I am working on the edits for Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market while planning novel number 4. My writing life is pretty hectic right now!
What piece of advice would you give current members of the NWS?
The NWS is an amazing springboard to publication but you have to be vigilant. Always be on the lookout for submission opportunities and make sure you establish a good social media platform as you go along. Good luck everyone!
Thank you, Heidi, we hope you have a fabulous evening at the RNA Summer Party and good luck with your writing career.
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