Monday, May 1, 2017

Joan Hessayon Contenders 2017: Emily Kerr

Today we welcome another of our contenders for the Joan Hessayon award.

Welcome to the RNS blog, Emily, and many 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 always wanted to be an author, and some of my earliest memories are of sitting in the back of the
car on the way to primary school asking my mum to spell out words for the stories I was writing. Ever since then, I’ve tended to have several writing projects on the go at once. I had a terrible habit of writing thousands of words of one book, then moving onto a shiny new story and not finishing it. Joining the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme encouraged me to focus on one particular story, my book Who Does He Think He Is? and actually finish it. The advice and support from my reader was invaluable, and it really helped me to hone the book and start submitting it to publishers.

How many years were you a member of the NWS and did you submit a manuscript each year?
I was in the NWS for three years. I submitted my book Who Does He Think He Is? during my first year on the scheme, and then submitted a revised version of it in my second year, having followed the helpful advice I was given by my reader. I got my publishing contract part way through my third year on the NWS, but it was great still being able to submit a partial manuscript to the scheme and get some good feedback on it.

What came first, agent or publisher?
I got a publisher first. I don’t have an agent, but finding one is definitely my next aim!

How did you find your publisher?
I started entering writing competitions and placed or was shortlisted in several. That success helped me to find the courage to start submitting my book to publishers. I wanted to be armed with as much knowledge as possible, so I attended the RNA Conference and chatted to lots of other authors about their journey to publication. I also soaked up all the wonderful advice from writers on the ROMNA mailing list. The whole submission process was still completely nerve-wracking, but I had some great writing buddies to support me along the way!

Do you have a contract for one book or more?
My contract is for one book, but I have plenty of projects on the go, so watch this space!

When was your book published?
My book was published on 15th December 2016. It was definitely a red-letter day. I booked the day off work, and my family and I celebrated with a lovely lunch out during which I had to keep on pinching myself, as I couldn’t quite believe my dream of being a published author had finally come true!

Tell us something about your book
Lady Aurelia Osbourne-Lloyd has long wished her bank balance was as big as her name. But her home, Leydale Park, is more of a pile in a state than stately pile, and her efforts to turn the family fortunes around are failing. 

When a Hollywood production company chooses the estate as a location for a Regency movie, a whole new level of chaos enters Aurelia’s life. And of top of that, she has to deal with the added distraction of dishy leading man, Xander Lord, who may have an ulterior motive for wanting to get close to her…

What are you currently working on?
I’m writing another romantic comedy. This time the story is set in one of my favourite countries, Greece. The main character Isabelle Sutton has always fancied charismatic TV archaeologist Ben Timms, but when she gets her dream job working for him on his latest documentary series, she soon learns he’s a very different person off screen…

What piece of advice would you give current members of the NWS?
Keep on writing, and don’t let fear and doubt take over! Get the words out on the page and don’t worry too much about it. Once that first draft is done, you can go back through and re-write and edit to your heart’s content, but you need something to start with. I’d also say find some writing buddies. Sitting at home and writing by yourself can be isolating, so it’s great to have friends to cheer you along the way and to exchange ideas with. The RNA is perfect for that.


Twitter: @EmilyKerrWrites

Thank you, Emily. Congratulations again on graduating the New Writers’ Scheme and I hope you enjoy the Summer Party.


Morton S Gray said...

I'm loving reading about my fellow contenders for the Joan Hessayon! See you in London and good luck. Mx

April Hardy said...

Ditto, Morton ;)
And looking forward to reading this, Emily!

Emily Kerr said...

Thank you! I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone in London! x