My mother is a writer. She wrote children’s books at the kitchen table when I was growing up and I always had a secret desire to write too. But it wasn’t until I turned thirty that I had the confidence to finally try to write a novel. I was living in London, working as a journalist and so, in my spare time, I began to write.
My first novel took about eight months to finish. I sent it out full of hope and optimism – that didn’t last long! It was rejected by everyone. Editors, publishers and agents around the world all said NO.
So I wrote another book and sent that out to the four corners of the world – same outcome. Nobody wanted to publish my book.
After two years of spending a fortune on stamps and being constantly rejected, I began to wonder if I should give up. I could have wallpapered my apartment with ‘no thank you’ letters. It was very demoralizing. So I sat down and thought long and hard about why I was writing. I realized that I loved it and it was my passion and I was going to stick with it.
I decided that I needed help. I was really private about my writing and told no one about it. So I joined a creative writing group. It was such a relief to be with people who felt as passionately about writing as I did. The tutor gave me some great tips that I still use to this day. She told me to plot the book out. She said I should always do a chapter breakdown before starting a novel so that I didn’t end up going off on tangents and wasting thousands of words going down dead ends.
During the course I wrote my third novel, The Baby Trail. It was inspired by my own struggles with infertility so I felt very passionately about the subject matter. It’s a black comedy about the crazy lengths women go to when they are trying to get pregnant.
I sent it out to agents and editors and Penguin were the first people to come back to me.
By a strange coincidence, I ended up meeting the editor from Penguin on my 33rd birthday. The meeting had been changed three times and it finally fell on my birthday. I saw it as a good omen, and it was! She offered me a deal. I had no agent so I rushed out to get one and thus began this wonderful writing life.
Sinead's latest novel, Mad About You, is out now.