This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
By a strange coincidence, the book deal that really started everything was the one Piatkus gave me for Good Husband Material, which will be reprinted and ebooked on May 28th by my present publisher, Avon HarperCollins. It wasn’t the first book I’d had published, but it marked my move into romantic comedy.
How it came about went like this, serendipity in action: I’d written satirical novels for years without getting any accepted, with a slight diversion into a couple of Regency romances at one point, which were taken by a library publisher.
On the strength of those I was invited to join the Romantic Novelist’s Association, though I carried on writing the satire. Then one day I went to an RNA seminar at Castle Howard, where I heard the wonderful Diane Pearson (of Transworld), giving a talk that was to change everything. She said that she hated receiving first person manuscripts from new writers, because they were usually awful.
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As soon as I got home, I posted her my latest satirical novel, called My Place in the Country, beginning the accompanying letter with the words, ‘Dear Diane Pearson, here is my brilliant first person novel….’
Diane loved it, but Transworld didn’t take it – so instead, she helpfully introduced me to a top London agent, Judith Murdoch, who read the novel and then called me down to London. Almost the first thing she said to me about My Place in the Country was: ‘Trisha, this romantic comedy has no romance in it at all!’ This was true, since it was a satire, but once I realised that by simply adding another element to what I was already writing, my books would not only be stronger but would fit into the wide spectrum of romantic comedy, I went straight back home and did just that.
That rewrite eventually became Good Husband Material and gained me my first contract with Gillian Green at Piatkus, who went on to publish four of my books.
And here I am today, about fourteen books down the line, including three consecutive Sunday Times top ten bestsellers, with that very same first novel (long out of print) coming out in a lovely new jacket, the best Easter Egg anyone could ever give me. I am still with Judith Murdoch and often see Diane Pearson, who has been unfailingly supportive and kind over all these years: the two people who have been the authors of my success.