MY WRITING JOURNEY

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It all started when…

I wrote and illustrated my first book at age 5. It was about cats (which amuses my husband to no end, because I am definitely a dog person these days.) By age 11 I'd graduated to writing Sweet Valley High-esque teen dramas. In my early twenties I completed a Bachelor of Business that was basically half an English degree (what I'd actually wanted to study), because I filled all my elective subjects with Literature units.

By 2012, the desire to try my hand at getting published pushed me into action. On Day 1 of NaNoWriMo I jumped in with both feet (and without any planning or prep like a sensible person might do) and started work on my very first manuscript. That book eventually went on to become my debut novel, Only the Brave Try Ballet.

This is my story... *cue Law and Order sound*

That's all good, but how did you actually get published?

The following is a break down of steps Love en Pointe (published as Only The Brave Try Ballet) took, from me writing the first word until the fateful day that someone said ‘yes, I want to buy this book.'

Timeline:

  • 1st NOV 2012 – Decided NaNoWriMo was a great idea. Started writing Love en Pointe.
  •  30th NOV 2012 – Finished Nano with almost 35,000 words.
  •  20th FEB 2013 – First draft of Love en Pointe is finished! Celebratory drinks.
  • 12th MAR 2013 – Start editing…it sucks.
  • 31st MAR 2013 – Entered Love en Pointe into a Romance Writers of Australia contest where it eventually received TERRIBLE feedback (more on that another time.)
  • 14th MAY 2013 – Saw a tweet advertising a pitch contest with Harlequin KISS on an author's blog. It was closing that day, so I decided to throw my hat in the ring. This was my pitch:
Teaching ballet to toddlers was not exactly what Jasmine Bell had in mind when she embarked on a career in dance; however, after a horrific car accident shatters her leg and her self-worth, Jasmine reluctantly hangs up her pointe shoes.

Grant Farley is a brooding football player with a wild-child past, who lands in Jasmine’s studio when he is sentenced to undertake ballet lessons for discipline. Good-girl Jasmine knows he’s trouble, she’s had guys like him before, but when sparks fly in the studio Jasmine can’t keep their student-teacher relationship professional.

When Jasmine falls hard for the tough guy with the heart of gold, Grant’s dark past reveals itself and Jasmine feels like she’s stepped back in time. Grant must convince Jasmine that he’s mended his ways and has the strength to mend her heart.

nb. the story changed quite a lot throughout revisions. If you've read Only The Brave Try Ballet you might notice that Grant doesn't take  ballet lessons for disciplinary reasons in the final version, but rather as part of injury rehab.

  • 15th MAY 2013 – Received an email from the editor at Harlequin KISS saying I didn’t final in the top three, but they thought my idea had potential and they wanted to see the full manuscript. *I got so excited I accidentally deleted the email and had a heart attack before finding it in my trash folder.
  • 19th MAY 2013 – Madly finish editing and submitted my manuscript.
  • 30th MAY 2013 – Received an email from the editor with a request to revise and resubmit.
  • 31st JUN 2013 – Submitted revisions.
  • 5th OCT 2013 – Received a phone call from the editor with another request to revise and resubmit.
  • 22nd OCT 2013 – Submitted revisions.
  • 8th NOV 2013 – Received an email from the editor with another request to revise and resubmit.
  • 2nd DEC 2013 – Submitted revisions
  • 13th DEC 2013 – Received ‘The Call‘ from Mills & Boon's London office with an offer of a two book contract.
  • 1st JUL 2014 - Only The Brave Try Ballet is released.

THE BOOK THAT STARTED IT ALL...