It’s always interesting to here from new members of the RNA - in fact any member of the RNA! Today we welcome author, Julia Roberts.
Like a lot of people, I always believed I had a novel in me but it was a case of finding the time to write it. I have worked full-time as a presenter at QVC, the shopping channel, since it went on air in October 1993 while also working as a freelance for a local cable television channel and for Sky Sports. I should perhaps mention that my children were five and six when I started at QVC so I was trying to be a hands-on Mum too… there was a lot of ball juggling going on! I have huge admiration for Mums with small children who can concentrate sufficiently to be creative. It wasn’t until both of my children had left university that I stopped pontificating and started writing.
My first book was a memoir, called One Hundred Lengths of the Pool, which was published by Random House and was initially sold exclusively on QVC. Shortly after that was published, I went away on holiday to Mauritius with my ‘other half’ to totally relax after a very demanding year, which included a diagnosis of leukaemia, but things didn’t quite go to plan. On the first morning I sat on the beach, under the shade of a palm tree, listening to the sound of the waves crashing on the reef, and I had an idea for a novel. Over the course of the next ten days, I scribbled copious notes and talked non-stop about my characters and the plot to my long-suffering partner and by the time we were heading home on the plane, I had the Liberty Sands Trilogy mapped out.
The first book in the trilogy, Life’s a Beach and Then…, took me around fifteen months to write. I then spent another five months deciding whether I should go down the route of finding myself an agent and/or publisher. I did submit to half a dozen agents but without success, although one or two commented that they liked my ‘voice’. I have left it quite late to embark on a new career as a writer so I didn’t really have the luxury of time to submit to more agents and wait for their response. A friend of mine had self-published and was generous in sharing her cover designer and formatter, and I tracked down and used the copy editor that Random House had assigned me, as we had a great working relationship. Three months later my first novel was available as an ebook and a month after that the paperback was in some independent bookshops and to order through Waterstones.
I think it is harder to be a self-published author, particularly from the publicity and marketing viewpoint, but it does allow the author to have more control over the finished work. It is also a much speedier process. I began writing the second book in the trilogy, If He Really Loved Me…, in March 2015 and published it in November. I’m currently in the final stages of writing the concluding part, It’s Never Too Late to Say…, and aiming for publication at the end of May.
I was really thrilled to be able to join the Romantic Novelists’ Association in January and look forward to meeting some of you at the Summer Party in May.
Thank you, Julia and good luck with book three in your trilogy. We hope you have a fabulous time at the RNA Summer Party.
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