As you know, for me, 2012 is all about believing and that’s why I’m running a series of posts from people who have ‘taken the plunge’ or ‘followed their dreams’ or had a ‘now or never’ moment. I’m hoping these posts MIGHT just inspire you to be a bit brave too.
And today I’m THRILLED to welcome Liz Fenwick to my blog. I’ve followed Liz’s journey into publication since we were both Novel Racers together, many many years ago (that was a community of writers who reported word counts and cheered each other on). I’m THRILLED that Liz’s talent and hard work has resulted in such success and achievement (and, to make it even better, she’s a genuinely generous and lovely lady). But, enough from me, here’s Liz…
Like many I’ve always wanted to be a writer. As a child I was forever making up stories and because I was an only child – what happened in my head many times was all that was happening around me. When people asked me what I wanted to do, I told them be an author. Now at the age of 49 I can say I am. Yes, it has taken me a long time. I’ve learnt that sometimes dreams do come true but they may require a lot of hard work.
In my case I needed to develop enough self-confidence to take criticism and not to take it personally. I also needed to learn about life. When I was young things were very clear and now I know that the lines aren’t straight but are delightfully fuzzy.
When I decided to try my hand at writing fiction after years of abstinence, I aimed for what I thought was manageable. I wrote a complete 50,000 word romance. It was terrible but it was complete. I’d conquered my fear from the past that I couldn’t finish. With that under my belt I set off to find my voice. I thought it would be light but the more I wrote the more I discovered I wanted to explore deeper into my characters’ hearts. It was on my third complete novel, ‘The Cornish House’, I realized that this was my voice and this was where I belonged.
That, however, was only the start. From there I had to dig deeper to bring my writing and storytelling to the place I knew it could go if I worked hard enough. For the longest time I wasn’t able to voice or visualize what I was aiming for, I just knew I could do it better. The struggle was to figure out how.
My light bulb moment came when I heard Shelley Harris read a snippet of her book Jubilee at the York Festival of writing. It gave me goose bumps. The short passage captured a moment, an emotion and was head and shoulders above all the other writers reading that evening. I knew then that that was what I wanted. I knew I needed to pull back from trying to get published and put that energy into making my work that much better.
That was in April and in the following February I submitted to agents again. This time I knew in my heart I’d made it as good as I could and it was right. I soon had an agent and a deal.
However that wasn’t the end – no, then came an editor who loved the book and could see things I couldn’t on my own. She wanted me to make the book better and helped me to do it. Now as ‘The Cornish House’ arrives into the world I’m so pleased I took the time to grow up into the writer I’d always wanted to be.
And to celebrate the launch of the VERY fabulous ‘The Cornish House’ I have a copy to give away. Simply leave a ‘please pick me’ comment by 3pm (GMT) June 20, then I’ll pop all names in a mug and ask a small child to select a winner. This competition is open to all.