Today we welcome another of our contenders for the Joan Hessayon award.
Welcome to the RNS blog, Victoria, 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?
The Thief’s Daughter is my first traditionally published novel. I had a poem published in 2003, but I
I wrote a second manuscript, which was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romantic Fiction in 2014. At the event, I found myself sitting in a room full of published authors, agents and publishers. It was a very different world to what I was used to and I realised I needed support and friends who understood the book industry. At the event I learnt about the Romantic Novelists’ Association and their New Writers’ Scheme. The NWS offered everything I needed, so I signed up and, luckily, was accepted.
How many years were you a member of the NWS and did you submit a manuscript each year?
I joined the NWS in 2015 and submitted my third manuscript, The Thief’s Daughter, in the same year. The feedback was positive and advised me to submit the manuscript to agents and publishers. The reader’s feedback gave me the encouragement I needed. I started out very naïve and feeling quite alone in my quest to become an author, but since joining the RNA I have learnt so much and made many new friends.
What came first, agent or publisher?
I submitted The Thief’s Daughter to several agents and one publisher. I received three requests for a full manuscript, but it was Choc Lit who offered me a contract first and I was thrilled to accept.
How did you find your publisher?
I first heard about Choc Lit when I submitted my previous manuscript to the New Talent Award competition. The final judge was the Managing Director of Choc Lit, Lyn Vernham. I researched the publisher and knew that they liked to publish books with both the male and female point of view, which was exactly the type of novel I enjoy reading and like to write.
Do you have a contract for one book or more?
I am delighted to say that I signed a further three book deal with Choc Lit earlier this year, making The Thief’s Daughter the first in a series of four Cornish based novels.
When was your book published?
The Thief’s Daughter was published at the beginning of January. I still can’t quite believe I am a traditionally published author now. It has been a dream of mine for so long. I am looking forward to writing “Author” in the occupation section of the next census so later generations will learn that I, a farmer’s daughter, became the first novelist in the family.
Please tell us something about your book.
The Thief’s Daughter is set in debt ridden, 18th century Cornwall, when the gibbet casts a shadow of fear over the land, yet when night falls, free traders swarm onto the beaches and smuggling prospers.
It tells the story of one woman’s struggle to free her brother from debtors’ prison and her growing love for a man her brother despises. Her divided allegiances challenge her moral integrity, her loyalty and, ultimately, her trust in both as the worlds of justice and crime collide, leading to danger and heartache for all concerned.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently researching for my next novel. It is in its early stages, so I don’t want to go into too much detail as I may change it, but I am hoping to feature Cornwall’s white gold …
What piece of advice would you give current members of the NWS?
Although it is important to edit on the computer, the best advice I can give is to always edit a printed version too. You will be amazed at how many errors you will pick up.
Thank you, Victoria. Congratulations again on graduating the New Writers’ Scheme and I hope you enjoy the Summer Party.