My guest this week is contemporary romance author, Lynne Shelby, who is published by Accent Press. Lynne tells me that she always wanted to be an author, and her writing journey started at a very early age. Welcome, Lynne can you tell us how you achieved your dream of being a published author?
8th January 2015. It was a typically cold, grey winter afternoon, when I took a phone call from an unknown number. I expected it to be someone anxious to sell me double glazing or fix my computer if only I’d give them my bank details, but instead it was a call from Accent Press …
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be an author. I first submitted a novel about four teenagers who discover a mysterious island to a publisher when I was fourteen. They didn’t publish it, but an editor sent me an extremely kind letter encouraging me to keep writing.
I wrote in various genres over the years from hard science fiction to historical epics, although my stories always had a subplot of a developing relationship between two of my main characters – even my YA novel had a handsome hero. I submitted both a historical fantasy and a SF novel to a few publishers – and received my share of ‘it’s not for us’ letters. Then, about six years ago, I ‘discovered’ the broad spectrum of books that fall into the genre of contemporary romantic novels, and realised that this is what I’d been writing all along, without knowing it. From then on, I focused on stories about modern relationships – and left out the swords and spaceships! I was lucky enough to get a place on the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers’ Scheme, which offers critiques of unpublished manuscripts, and the generous advice I received from experienced authors was invaluable.
In 2014, quite by chance, I spotted the Accent Press and Woman magazine competition for new, unpublished contemporary women’s fiction writers, with the prize of a publishing contract with Accent Press, and a writing holiday. I’d always enjoyed entering writing competitions, and found that having to meet a deadline and keep to a word-count, was a really good way to improve my writing skills, but I’d never before entered a competition of this size – or one with such a fabulous prize. I sent off my entry – the first three chapters and a synopsis of a novel – just before the deadline, and told myself not to think about it. Then, when I was least expecting it, I got that call from Accent Press to tell me that I’d won the competition and that my novel, ‘French Kissing,’ about two childhood penfriends, one French, one English, who meet again as adults, would be published in the summer. I’ll never forget that super-exciting moment.
Over the next few weeks, as I continued along my path to publication, there were many more thrilling moments: seeing the artwork for the cover, watching the book trailer and, most of all, that incredible moment when I held a book that I’d written in my hands for the first time.
Now, I’m holding a copy of my latest novel, There She Goes – and it is just as super-exciting! I’m so glad I took that editor’s advice when I was fourteen.
I’m sure your readers are glad you did too, Lynne. What a fascinating publishing story.
Here are some of Lynne’s book
Blurb for There She Goes
When aspiring actress Julie Farrell meets actor Zac Diaz, she is instantly attracted to him, but he shows no interest in her. Julie, who has yet to land her first professional acting role, can’t help wishing that her life was more like a musical, and that she could meet a handsome man who’d sweep her into his arms and tap-dance her along the street…
After early success on the stage, Zac has spent the last three years in Hollywood, but has failed to forge a film career. Now back in London, he is determined to re-establish himself as a theatre actor. Focused solely on his work, he has no time for distractions, and certainly no intention of getting entangled in a committed relationship…
Auditioning for a new West End show, Julie and Zac act out a love scene, but will they ever share more than a stage kiss?
Lynne Shelby writes contemporary women’s fiction/romance. Her debut novel, ‘French Kissing’ won the Accent Press and Woman magazine Writing Competition, and her latest novel, ‘There She Goes,’ is one of a series of stand-alone novels set in the world of theatre and film. When not writing or reading, Lynne can usually be found watching a play or a West End musical, or exploring a foreign city, writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband, and has three adult children who live nearby.
There She Goes:
Check in next week to read Lorraine Mace’s writing journey.
And if you want to read about my writing journey, I’m talking about it over on Tom William’s blog here.