You probably saw this announcement on Twitter the other day, but I just wanted to say a little more, to talk about the journey and to thank a LOT of people who helped me get to the stage of having Storm Rising published.
I started writing back in 2010 when I tore my cruciate ligament playing rugby. This put me off my feet for 6/7 weeks and there’s only so much Bejewelled a person can play!!!
So I started hitting the keys, wrote a 110,000 word MG novel, called Sam Chance and the Meerkat of Plasia, (which was terrible!) and sent it out to agents, awaiting my publishing fame and JK Rowling fortune and status…that’s how it works, right?
A lot of rejections later (a few embarrassing ones included when I told an agent what time of day I like to write and another where I filled out the age/genre field with 28/Male! 😂) and I knew I had to move on.
I had just begun writingclasses.com with a brilliant, encouraging tutor, Anne Hamilton, who really helped me in those early days of working on my 2nd novel. I was still very rough around the edges and with her encouragement and guidance I managed to finish my 2nd book.
Again followed a round of rejections…
But that 2nd book got me onto an MLitt Creative Writing, where I worked with some very talented writers and had workshops from top writers, agents and publishers and learned so much in my one year. I finished with a Merit and a completed 3rd novel.
The Nameless. It was by far my best novel so far. It performed well in unpublished novel competitions; 2nd in Inks and Insights, LL for Yeovil, Flash500 and Spotlight. I also got onto the Curtis Brown Writing for Children course with it, completing an intensive course, under the expert tutelage of Carnegie Clip nominee Catherine Johnson, and together with my 14 other Scribbler buddies (I’ll get to them in a minute) I really polished and improved the manuscript, ready for submission to agents.
It got a lot of agent interest, over 30 full manuscript requests. It made it to the final few in an open submissions window with HodderScape.
But again, ultimately, everyone rejected it.
Here I want to give a shout out to The Scribblers (thescribblersonline.com), my CBC buddies who, to this day, have formed a very strong, supportive group where we chat, critique and blog about all things writing, YA and MG! I love these guys and they’ve been instrumental in keeping me going after the rejections of The Nameless. See them all below; Kirsten, Lisa B, Owen, Mich, Krystal, Cynthia, Lorna, Sue, Jayne, Lisa M, Sophie, Serena and Kathryn.
While it was being rejected I started 5 different novels, none of which went much past 10k – the love wasn’t quite there…
Then along came Corena Storm.
Fully formed in her character and her struggles, but I needed to find an epic world and story to amplify those. I worked on the book for a long time, in several iterations and it went through multiples reads, edits and reviews.
Here I must thank Carly Hayward (@FromCarly) who did an amazing developmental edit on the book and really helped condense and emphasise certain parts, Krystal-Lee McRae, fellow Scribbler, who read the whole story and gave me uber detailed notes to improve it and to the #PitProm guys Eli and Kadee, who selected me in their contest and assigned me to a mentor, Charlene Wilson, who really helped with my opening, pitch and query letter. Also the amazing Jo and Sarah at Writers HQ, who taught me how to plot a novel!
So how did I meet my agent?
Well, first I need to mention a second bunch of writers who I’ve met through the Scribblers #PeerPitch competitions, we formed a group, TWP. (Lorna, Emma, Anne, Anna, Ellie, Caroline, EFP, Jeanna, Marisa, Lydia). They’re a funny and supportive bunch and one of them shared a link to SavvyAuthors open pitch event.
I pitched Storm Rising to a number of agents/publishers on there, got a few requests, one of which was Belcastro Agency agent Ella Marie Schupe. She asked for the full a short while later and within a week or so, Sharon Belcastro got in touch to offer me representation.
Once I was sure they were the perfect agency for me, and they genuinely couldn’t have impressed me more when I asked a LOT of questions, we managed to get the book edited and out to publishers.
And along came Nine Star Press. And they want to publish Storm Rising. They are a perfect fit for Corena’s story.
I’ll talk a little more about what being published is like, both here and at https://www.stuartwhitewriting.com, and what it involves in another post, but for now I’ll leave you with this…
They feared her power
They took her away
But when she lost the one thing she cared for
Her greatest fear imagined
She sought revenge and they thought they’d contained her
But they didn’t count on the power of her love
There’s a Storm coming…are you all ready to rise?