Today I’m delighted to introduce you to Kate Mallinder, who I met a few years ago. As soon as I read a piece of Kate’s writing I was sure that it was only a matter of time before she got published so I’m delighted that her debut novel will be released next month by Firefly Press. Welcome Kate, can you tell us about your ‘publication’ journey.
As I’m sat here, only a few weeks away from my debut book coming out, I’m thinking how easy it would be to say this was meant to be, that I always knew I would be published one day and that it’s been a heartily uplifting journey to get here. But that wouldn’t be entirely true.
I started writing seriously six years ago, and I first met Karen soon after. She was the first professional who took my writing seriously. I wrote a book, sent it to agents, got nowhere. Wrote another book, sent it to agents, got a couple of full requests, but nothing. Wrote another book, sent it to agents, got lots of full requests, a few offers and signed with Hannah Sheppard from DHH Literary Agency. I thought the hard bit was done.
That was four years ago. Since then I have done a lot of writing, a lot of editing, a lot of waiting to hear, of obsessively checking my emails, of meeting with publishers, of being told another book has been taken to acquisitions, of so many near misses and rejections.
It was when I was writing Summer of No Regrets that it hit me – this wasn’t going to happen. I had given it my all, my very best shot, and it wasn’t good enough (luckily now I have my agent’s voice in my head telling me otherwise, rather than my persuasive inner critic)
However the story would not leave me alone. It was a brain-strain to write as it has four points-of-view, but I wanted to see if I could make it work. There were moments of joy writing it, but mainly it was showing up, day after day, dodging my inner critic long enough to write a few words.
While I was editing, I was still certain it wouldn’t get published, so I made plans to do other things. I applied to do an MA, I sent short pieces off everywhere I could find. If I was going to be rejected, may as well collect them, so I set out to get 100 rejections in a year.
Writing is this funny thing, for me anyway. I love it and loathe it at the same time. The feeling when it’s going well is like flying, nothing touches you. But when it isn’t, everything bites. This is why I try to, even in a small way, celebrate each micro-success: each chapter finished, each new goal reached, each positive comment received. Even so, it’s a struggle to stay on an even keel.
Summer of No Regrets is inspired by my own experiences with facing up to my fears, for not saying no to opportunities just because I think I’ll fail, for having a go and failing, and getting up and trying again.
Yet, if I were to look back with rose-tinted specs, I would say that it’s my best writing yet. That it’s a story that would not have happened without the rejections that came before it, and so, in a skewed kind of way, my journey has been a good thing.
What an inspiring story, Kate. I love the idea of celebrating each small step towards your goal, it’s important to remember how far you’ve come in your writing and not let the rejections get you down. Congratulations on your debut novel!
Here is Kate’s novel
Summer of No Regrets is a feel-good contemporary story for teens and is out May 2 with Firefly Press. It’s been included in the Top Ten Summer YA Books by The Reading Agency.
Kate lives with her husband, four children and two cats near Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire. If left to her own devices, she’d live on a window seat with a good book and a never-ending cup of tea.
Find Kate on twitter: @KateMallinder
On Instagram: kate.mallinder
Check back in next Saturday to read Sarah Evans ‘path to publication’ story.