Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Joan Hessayon Contenders 2017: Vivien Hampshire

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

Welcome to the RNS blog, Vivien, 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 started writing fiction more than twenty years ago, and won the Mail on Sunday’s annual ‘Best
Opening to Novel’ competition at my first attempt. This attracted an agent and the finished book did the rounds of all the big publishers without success. If only digital publishing had been around then I might have been published a lot sooner! Since then I have concentrated most of my efforts on writing short stories for women’s magazines although I did also self-publish a short e-book novel in 2012.

How many years were you a member of the NWS and did you submit a manuscript each year?
I graduated during my fourth year. In year one I only submitted a partial, then completed the book for my year two submission. ‘How To Win Back Your Husband’ was my third year book, and I have since sent another through in year four.

What came first, agent or publisher?
I did have an agent representing me for a different book a year or two ago, but we have since parted company. That book and ‘How To Win Back Your Husband’ were both taken up following direct submissions to publishers.

How did you find your publisher?
I had never heard of HQ Digital until I attended the RNA Conference in Lancaster last summer. After a one-to-one and then listening to their editors giving a talk, I sent the manuscript in and it was accepted within just a few weeks.

Do you have a contract for one book or more?
Just one with this publisher, but my year one/two NWS manuscript has since found a home with Harper Impulse who have given me a two book contract, under a different author name!

When was your book published?
It came out as an e-book on 18 January, and I held a lovely online launch party with competitions and prizes to welcome it into the world.

Tell us something about your book
Nicci has made a huge mistake that her husband Mark can neither forgive nor forget. It’s in the middle of her own divorce party that Nicci realises she will always love him and just can’t let him go. So, with the help of a scatty best friend, an old lady she has never met, and a little bit of Christmas magic, she sets out to regain his trust, earn his forgiveness and save her marriage. But she only has thirty days to do it before the decree absolute ruins everything. The clock is ticking!

What are you currently working on?
I am in the final stages of editing my book ‘Lily Alone’ for Harper Impulse, which comes out as an e-book in June and paperback in October. This one does have romantic elements but also looks at the much more serious issue of child abandonment and will be published under my married name of Vivien Brown.

What piece of advice would you give current members of the NWS?
It’s easy to feel disheartened and overwhelmed when confronted with a blank page, a jumble of ideas and too little time. Look upon your novel as your baby, taking many months to develop inside you before it sees the light of day. When it’s ‘born’, people will offer advice and help – so listen carefully and don’t ever turn that help down – but in the end you have to do what feels right for you. Write from your heart. Look forward, never back. Want that publishing deal more than anything else in the world, and you just might get it!


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


Viv said...

Thanks for having me on the blog. It's lovely to read all about the other contenders too.

Morton S Gray said...

Yes, I'm enjoying reading about fellow contenders too! See you in London. Xx