Thursday, 28 June 2007

Mother, Writer and Expat Extraordinaire Otherwise Known as Liz

I have like many writers have been writing all my life. Being an only child books became some of my closest companions and I think it was a natural progression to move to writing my own stories – the ones that lived in my mind. In university I took a degree in English Literature with a concentration in Creating Writing and Medieval Studies. For my senior thesis I wrote three quarters of a novel. My advisor gave the name of her agent to send it to, Mollie Friedrick of Aaron Priest. I never sent it or finished it. I was too scared of rejection – silly girl.

I moved into insurance and eventually moved to the UK and worked in the Lloyds market; met my husband two weeks after I arrived and have travelled the globe with three kids and a cat.

So back on New Years Eve 2003 I promised myself that I would write more as everyone kept asking me when I was going to write again. We were living in Dubai at that time. I began to write a Mills and Boon. Half way through we were transferred back to the UK. I unpacked and settled down to finish it. By the end of January 2005 I had sent it off and it was duly rejected. Reading somewhere on the web about the Romantic Novelist Association I joined their New Writers Scheme. I had a wonderful critique and it became clear the more I learned that I wasn’t destined to write for Mills and Boon. My voice wasn’t right and I couldn’t be that disciplined with characters and plot.

My next submission for the NWS was August Rock. It was a much better work but filled with flaws. I rewrote using Sol Stein to improve my style and then sent it to Hilary Johnson. The report came back with concerns about ghosts and American heroines but nothing but praise so style. So I had learned something on this major rewrite. August Rock then went trans-Atlantic to Caroline Upcher at Hilary’s suggestion thinking it might be better suited to the US market. While that was happening I wrote the first draft of A Cornish House.

The fifth rewrite of August Rock was just popped in to jiffy bag and sent to the Daily Mail First Novel Competition. I know that it’s not good enough yet. Due to the pending move to Dubai I did not have the time to truly knock it into shape. However I am pleased with the restructure and plot thickening I did accomplish. When the container is packed and I sleep for a few days straight I will begin the next rewrite so that it can again go to the NSW for another critique.

What I have learned since I picked up then pen again seriously in January 2004 is that writing is what I always wanted to do and how important it is to me. I have proved to myself that I can work under deadline – self imposed and that I am willing to take criticism. With each rewrite I am learning so much and hopefully soon I will see one of my books published.

I am grateful for the community of the Novel Racers for their support. It has made the whole lonely process fun and much less lonely. Thanks Guys!


ChrisH said...

Great achievements Liz, I wonder how you write at all with so many demands on your time. Good luck with the move and the competition.

hesitant scribe said...

Hi Liz... dittoing what chrish says! Am in awe!

liz fenwick said...

It gave me something positive to focus on when I wasn't in comtrol of anything else :-)