This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Renita D’Silva admits she made every possible mistake on her journey to publication, but these days has found a happy publishing home with Bookouture. Renita joins us now to tell us a little more about her writing journey and her new book, A Sister’s Promise.
My latest book, A Sister’s Promise, was published on the 2nd of July. Set against the dramatic backdrop of India, it is a powerful, emotional tale of family secrets, love and the ties that bind sisters together.
Where do you find inspiration for your books?
I grew up in a small village in India that was a hotbed for gossip. I absorbed all the tales brimming with intrigue prevalent in the village, as if by osmosis, and now they are leaking out of me.
Can you tell us a little about your average writing day?
I tutor kids at home while also looking after my own children, doing the school run and ferrying them to their various activities. I try and fit my writing into pockets of time snatched between chores.
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I love the way Harper Lee tells a great story while making a point. I adore how she shows us the puzzling and at times downright cruel machinations of the adult world through the eyes of little Scout.
What female writer has inspired you?
What is your writing process? Do you plan first or dive in? How many drafts do you do?
My first instinct is to dive in and my first book was completely unplanned. It started off as a story of two sisters and ended up being something completely different.
With my subsequent books, I have had to work to deadline. So now, with each book, I do a rough plan. Not too detailed, just a rudimentary sketch of each character and their motives.I normally do four drafts. The first one is very basic, and I am just writing the story, putting it all down in words. It is stream of consciousness writing. Then I go back and edit. And then edit some more.
The journey to publication was a huge learning curve. I committed every possible mistake there is. Once I had penned The End on my first draft, I bought a copy of The Writers and Artists Handbook and sent the first three chapters off to the first few agents listed there. I did not check to see if the agents were representing books by authors in my genre and I did not make my book the best it could be.
I was lucky in that I got requests for a full manuscript from a couple of agents. They read my draft and were kind enough to come back with suggestions for improvement. I took their feedback on board and I also saved up for a professional edit. This time when I sent the revised book off, the responses were positive, but I was rejected nonetheless. I was told that publishers were reluctant to take on new authors because of the recession. Then I saw the ad for Bookouture in Mslexia and sent my manuscript off to them. And they said yes!
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
1) Finish it.
2) Don’t let rejection get you down. Even the best authors get rejected. J.K.Rowling was rejected 12 times before Harry Potter was unleashed on the world.
3) Make your book the best it can be. Try and get a professional edit done, if possible.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently at the beginning stages of Book 5.