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Freya gave inspiration to us all as she told us how she had spent four years as a struggling, unpublished author before - in sheer desparation - sending the manuscript of her first novel, Sally off to an agent with a fabricated list of adulatory reviews!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 before sending them to her editor and revealed that even if she was still unpublished, she would still be writing.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!