I joined the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme back in January 2015 and it was the best thing I ever did.
I have to confess, I had not heard of the RNA until the previous year, probably because when I started writing I had no idea I wanted to write romance. I tried writing short stories and children’s books, but ultimately my writing journey led me to romance and I’ve never looked back.
I’d read the NWS was always oversubscribed and almost impossible to secure a place, but I had to try. My writing had got to the stage where I needed a professional critique. I stayed up late on January 2nd – a huge achievement for a morning person like me, and at 12.04am, I hit the send button.
About a week later I heard I’d got a place!
I was overwhelmed. I had nothing ready to send. Talk about giving me focus!
I had half a story, I had a plot, I had characters. My characters took over, became the main focus, demanded the attention and I buried myself in my own little world. Six frantic/obsessive months of writing, rewriting, editing and beta readers followed and I finally sent my manuscript in July.
During that time, I connected with many wonderful members of the RNA. Everyone is so friendly and supportive, and although we’ve only ‘met’ online, I’m really looking forward to meeting my friends soon at the RNA’s Summer Party in May. It will be my first ever RNA event I’ve been to – I’m dead nervous but excited too.
But back to the manuscript I submitted. The report came back in October and I was overwhelmed again. The reader liked my story, made insightful comments and gave me invaluable advise. She said once I’d made the changes she suggested, it would be ready to submit.
Suffering from self doubt, I couldn’t believe I’d written something half way decent, but I still wanted to start submitting.
It couldn’t hurt to try, right?
Well, after yet more edits, I did submit my manuscript, and to my utmost surprise, I found a fab publisher who liked my book enough to offer me a publishing contract.
My debut fantasy romance, TOUCHED, was published in July 2016, almost a year to the day that I sent it to the New Writers’ Scheme, and I couldn’t have done it without them.
January 2017 I graduated to full membership.
Thanks for reading.