Thursday, 17 September 2009

Freya North's Top Tips

Yesterday was the September meeting of the RNA at the New Cavendish Club in London. Our speaker was the wonderful Freya North, bestselling author and winner of the 2008 Romantic Novel of the Year Award for her book Pillow Talk, a fantastic love story exlporing the idea of whether first love ever gets a second chance.
Freya gave inspiration to us all as she told us how she had spent four years as a struggling, unpublished author before - in sheer desparation - sending the manuscript of her first novel, Sally off to an agent with a fabricated list of adulatory reviews! These purported to be from (amongst others) Jilly Cooper, Germaine Greer, Mary Wesley and Radio Four's Woman's Hour! Thankfully, the tactic paid off and before long she had landed an agent and a three-book publishing deal - although she didn't tell us quite how she managed to wriggle out of the question from her agent in their first meeting - "So, how do you know Jilly then?"
Writing is at the centre of Freya's life. She writes dilligently every day at her local library in North London on a lap-top which has had all internet connections, photos and music removed - in fact, because she goes to the library every day, one of her children thought until recently that she was, actually, a librarian. She works her books through three drafts (only three!!) before sending them to her editor and revealed that even if she was still unpublished, she would still be writing.
Book number eleven is currently in production and is - I can reveal - about how people in a relationship are always caught between two other women: the girlfriend is caught between her ex'x new love and her new love's ex, whilst the guy is caught between his ex and his new flame. It promises to be another rivetting read from Ms North, although Funny You Should Read That wishes it was closer to completion than chapter Two - can't wait!
Another project Freya is currently excited about is the introduction she has been asked to write for a new edition of Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders. Freya said she loves the way Defoe gets under a woman's skin and writes so convincingly in the first person and reckons that Moll is just the sort of feisty heroine today's readers will really come to love!
All in all, she was a bit of an inspiration. As Funny You Should Read That always says - never give up and never stop writing: Freya North is a prime example of what can happen when you do just that!

Monday, 14 September 2009

Top of the Pops

Just got back from my run - probably one of the last I will be able to do in the evenings until the clocks go forward next year. The irony is that I really love being out in the twilight (I suspect I would enjoy being outside at dawn as well, only it would involve impossible things like getting up early and being energetic before breakfast) but I'm savvy enough to know that running in the dark is a bit barmy for a lone female.
Especially one who runs in a black top and joggers.
The question is, though, when is it too dark to run - after the streetlights come on? When it's too dark to see what you're treading in on the pavements? When you can't see your hand in front of your face? Sunset itself is no help as it's often perfectly light for a good while after the sun has disappeared and, assuming Salisbury doesn't have a large vampire population, this should still be reasonably okay...

Onto other matters and I want to say an enormous 'thank you' to everyone who has pre-ordered Tug of Love - especially those who pre-ordered on You are amazing and have pushed it to a dizzy Number 2 position in the romance pre-order charts, just tucking in behind the mighty Nora Roberts. I am stunned and I suspect they can see the grin on my face from space!!! THANK YOU, you are fabulous. Yay!
Allie xxxxx

Thursday, 10 September 2009

It's All Happening!

I logged on to the computer today intending to do the final edits to Chapter One of my new book before sending it off to my agent - but it's now twenty past ten and I STILL haven't done any writing, mainly because I am too excited!!! The first piece of news is that my second book, The Not So Secret Diary of a City Girl is up on Amazon: ( I only submitted it two and half months ago and already it's been put into the Little Black Dress publishing schedule with an expected publication date of the 1st of April. Needless to say I am beyond thrilled.
The second thing is that a piece about me winning the Joan Hessayon Award for best debut novel with Tug of Love is in the good old Salisbury Journal today - along with a nice photie taken by my hubby.
I just need to bring myself down to earth with a bump and get on with the nitty gritty of actually doing some writing!
allie xxxx

Sunday, 6 September 2009

The Final Countdown

Hiya! I'm writing this on the evening of Sunday 6th September which means (da-da-DAAAAAAA)....only 24 days to go until my first novel, 'Tug of Love' hits the bookshops. It's been the most unbelievable rollercoaster since I typed the first draft one-handed as I jiggled newborn BabyJay in my arms - the newborn who is now almost four years old! Yup, it's taken me four years to become an overnight success - well, here's hoping anyhow!
The novel is about Lucy Stephens, a divorce lawyer who doesn't believe in love and I was lucky enough to be able to use my time as a pupil at the family law Bar to inject a bit of local colour although, in answer to the many MANY questions no, it's not in the least autobiographical. I promise.
One of the most incredible things for me as a wet-behind-the-ears writer has been the publicity surrounding the launch of the book. Basically, as a newbie, I don't get international reading tours and nation-wide book signings arranged for me - I have to roll up my sleeves and get stuck in myself but everyone has been totally fab. Little Black Dress are doing what they can for me, the wonderful Rich at Salisbury's Waterstone's store has said I can leave a large batch of my publicity postcards by the till and my friends and rellies have also been sticking up these postcards in places as diverse as York Magistrates Court, a branch of the fabulous 'Hobbs' women's clothing stores and a university department of English Literature! I am also thrilled to be doing a book signing/reading at Goodbodies beauty salon in Ivybridge, South Devon on the 27th October (contact the owner Kay Goody for tickets!!)and - this is the one where I am currently keeping everything crossed - hoping to get the book stocked in my local Waitrose Food and Home store. This would be totally magic: the head book buyer for the Waitrose chain has given her approval and I am now waiting to hear from the store itself....I am biting my nails, I tell you!!
Meanwhile, Book Number Two has been okayed by my editor at Little Black Dress and we are looking at a publictaion date of sometime next summer - although if you REALLY can't wait, I might post a few little tasters up here over the coming months so remember to check it out... And it's on with Book Number 3.
Honestly, there's none of your sitting around all day in a pink feather boa drinking coffee about this writing lark, it's all go go go!
More later and don't forget to check out my spanking new website at for the chance to win a signed copy of 'Tug'!
Take care and see you soon!
Lots of love, Allie xxxxxx