Friday, December 15, 2017

Rosie Hendry: On Not Giving Up

The acknowledgements at the back of East End Angels begin with “A huge and heartfelt thank you to the Romantic Novelists’ Association, without whom this book would never have been written.” And it’s true.

The first steps towards writing it started when I applied for one of the coveted 1:1 appointments with an agent at the 2015 RNA conference at Queen Mary’s in London. I was lucky enough to get an appointment with agent, Felicity Trew, (thank you Elaine Everest), to whom I sent the first few chapters and synopsis of a WW2 saga which I’d had published as a two part People’s Friend pocket novel in 2013. I’d had plans to write something else to show an agent but life had taken a downward turn at the beginning of the year when a close family member became ill and died, pushing novel writing very much on the back burner. I almost didn’t apply for a 1:1 but decided to try anyway and perhaps get some feedback on my writing I’d done so far.

To my astonishment Felicity liked my writing, and this led on to a meeting a couple of weeks later at the Caroline Sheldon agency where she works, for a brainstorming session with the aim of me writing something new to approach publishers with. By the autumn Felicity had signed me up, in early 2016 she sent off three chapters and a synopsis, plus ideas for another two books in the potential series and two publishers put in offers for a three book deal, bidding against each other. It was unbelievable, thrilling and nerve wracking. After meetings with each publisher I had to choose who to go with, which was a really tough decision but in the end chose the wonderful Little, Brown, Sphere.

I’ve been a member of the RNA since 2007 when I joined the New Writers’ Scheme and tried to write a Mills & Boon, which I soon discovered are a very difficult craft to master and not suited to my writing. Eventually I graduated from the NWS in 2011 with a People’s Friend contemporary pocket novel. Since then it’s taken quite a few years to find my voice and discover what genre suited me best, in the meantime writing lots of short stories for women’s magazines, both contemporary and historical, and a WW2 serial for People’s Friend. It was after the 2015 conference that I finally found my writing home.

There have been times over the years when I have thought of giving up writing but the RNA’s brilliant support has kept me going, especially the generosity and kindness of members who have shared advice and their experience - this is one of the amazing strengths of the RNA. Way back when I was unsuccessfully trying to write a Mills & Boon, Kate Walker (a fabulous Mills & Boon author herself) advised me to find out what I should be writing and she was right. I remember Jean Fullerton giving excellent advice at the Chichester conference saying that the writers who get published are the ones that keep trying and trying, and those who give up, don’t. Since I joined the RNA, I’ve seen many members who kept on trying and not giving up, eventually succeeding which is fantastic, well deserved and utterly joyful. Anyone in the NWS who is doubting themselves or feeling like giving up, don’t, keep going, keep trying and you will get there, it might take time but none of that is wasted because you are learning and improving and the RNA and its members are there to support you every step of the way.

Rosie's début novel, East End Angels, is available now on Amazon.

Strong-willed Winnie loves being part of the crew at Station Seventy-Five but her parents are less than happy. She has managed to avoid their pleas to join the WRENS so far but when a tragedy hits too close to home she finds herself wondering if she's cut out for this life after all.

Former housemaid Bella was forced to leave the place she loved when she lost it all and it's taken her a while to find somewhere else to call home. She's finally starting to build a new life but when the air raids begin, it seems she may have to start over once again.

East-Ender Frankie's sense of loyalty keeps her tied to home so it's not easy for her to stay focused at work. With her head and heart pulling in different directions, will she find the strength to come through for her friends when they need her the most?

Brought together at LAAS Station Seventy-Five in London's East End during 1940, these three very different women soon realise that they'll need each other if they're to get through the days ahead. But can the ties of friendship, love and family all remain unbroken?

About Rosie:
Rosie Hendry lives by the sea in Norfolk with her husband, two children, chickens and a snake.

Listening to her father’s tales of life during the Second World War sparked her interest in this period and she’s especially intrigued by how women’s lives changed during the war years. She loves researching further, searching out gems of real life events which inspire her writing.

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6 comments:

Just Another Bloke (John Jackson) said...

SO SO true about the RNA. They help us keep our dreams alive.
JJ xx

Rosie Hendry said...

Thanks for having me on the blog, dear RNA and for being so utterly fabulous.

Susan Griffin said...

Great to hear your success story Rosie, and very encouraging for me as I struggle on x

Rosie Hendry said...

Glad it’s a help, Susan. Just keep on going because that’s the only way you’ll get there. Good luck.

Susan Griffin said...

Thanks Rosie x

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a lovely post Rosie, I've really felt like giving up having had a horrendous couple of years. You're so right, those that don't give up succeed, even if it is not in the way we hoped at first! Thank you for the the gentle reminder.