It's the final day of the Debuts 2015 and 2016 series and I'm sad that it has reached an end. I have loved hearing from all these wonderful authors. Tomorrow I shall do a recap for the whole two weeks with contact details attached for each author, in case you want to follow them on Twitter or check out their website.
So today, it gives me great pleasure to welcome our final debut, Sara Barnard.
Sara is publishing Beautiful Broken Things with Macmillan Children's Books in February.
Did you ever feel like quitting writing?
I never thought about “quitting” but there have definitely been times in my life where I lost my way a bit. I was always writing when I was a child, but more or less stopped after I left university. It wasn’t until Beautiful Broken Things that I started properly writing again – just one reason this book is so special to me!
I feel like writing isn’t really something you *can* quit – being a writer is something you just are, even if you stop doing it for a while, or you don’t have a book deal, or you had a book that didn’t sell, or even if you’ve never completed a whole book.
What was your reaction when you knew it would be published?
Disbelief! When you’ve wanted something so long it takes a while to sink in when it actually happens. Also there’s a lot of secrecy in publishing – a lot of sitting on news for a while before it becomes public – so I had a lot of time to get used to the idea before I could tell other people. So by then I was a lot cooler! If people had seen me the day I got the news they’d have seen quite a different reaction. I sat on the train after the meeting beaming into thin air. I also posted that “Oh Happy Day” song from Sister Act on my Facebook, because why not?!
What advice would you give to unagented and unpublished authors?
Write on. So much of writing and publishing is timing – something I really didn’t understand until recently. If you get rejections, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer or even that you’ve written a bad book – there are SO many reasons why a book might not get picked up. But it’s so disheartening that it can be hard to remember that and to stay positive. The best thing to do is write because you want to write, and not because you want to get published. But I know as well as anyone that that is easier said than done.
What did you do when you found you were going to be published?
The day of the book deal was actually the same day that I was going to spend the weekend with some friends for a “feminist Thanksgiving”, so there was lots of wine, good food and friends involved! Although there was also an unfortunate incident that night with a knife, a Quorn roast and my thumb… I still have the scar! I call it my Book Deal Scar.
How has your life changed since getting a book deal?
It’s changed a lot! I was lucky enough to be able to leave my job and start freelancing, so I have a lot more time to write. My boyfriend and I also got a cat and moved into a new flat in a new town where I now have a writing room. So it’s been a big year with lots of changes. But the biggest difference is I’m able to do something I love and I get to be part of an incredible community full of supportive, passionate people who all love the same things I love! I’m much happier, overall.
Thank you Sara for sharing your thoughts with us. Good luck with your book launch.
And thank you to everyone who has taken part in this series. It has been a blast. Please come back tomorrow for the summary to see if there are any posts you may have missed.