This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
In 2001 I finally decided to try my hand at writing a book, something I’d been vaguely thinking about for over a decade. I bought a laptop, took a year off my teaching job in Ireland, flew across the Atlantic and moved in with my brother in San Francisco. I was armed with what I’d learnt at a weekend writing course, a bit of an idea (borne out of the weekend course) and a whole lot of optimism.
It took me roughly eight months to write the eighty thousand odd words that made up the first draft of The Daisy Picker. After I’d dotted the last i and crossed the last t, I was convinced I’d written the next big thing in Irish literature. I wondered how I’d cope with the bidding war – how did you let a publisher down gently? – and how long it would take before the film deals came in, and what I’d say when I was accepting my first award.
I got in touch with a pal In Ireland who’d just had her first novel accepted for publication, and asked her what I should do with my masterpiece. ‘My publishers are running a competition,’ she told me, ‘and the prize is a two book deal.’ So I looked them up and saw that they were looking for the first three chapters. I sent in my entry – and promptly forgot about it, as it was time to pack my bags and return to the Irish classroom.
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So in the end there was no bidding war, and to date no film deal. And of course my ‘masterpiece’ needed to be pretty much rewritten. On the plus side, I got no rejections for it, and it sold quite well for a first book by a complete unknown, and the win gave me the confidence to write nine more novels (so far). But the memory of that phone call, and the excitement it engendered, will stay with me till the day they prise the laptop out of my cold, dead hands.
And now you’ll have to excuse me – number eleven is calling…
Roisin's tenth book, After the Wedding, is out now.