As a keen reader, writer and aspiring author I’ve always been interested in hearing other writer’s stories about their journey to publication. So, it was with great delight that I received ‘ Writing the Dream’ , a book published by Serenity Press, which shares the stories of 25 authors and their paths to publication. I have not been able to put this book down.
Each very different essay is a labour of love for the authors involved. There are highs and lows , moments of self doubt, the breath holding moments when you send your manuscript off into the big wide world and the joy and celebration when a publisher picks your story for publication.
About the book
Every author’s story is different. Many face rejection time and time again, while a lucky few ( like our very own She Brisbane writers , Kylie Kaden and Deborah Disney ) have their book accepted first time by a major publishing house. There are stories of writers like myself who hone their craft writing articles, book reviews and entering competitions. There are those who go back to university to study writing or history in order to improve their writing. Some keep it a secret , even from their families, until they feel confident enough to send their baby out into the world. Yet, the common thread running throughout every author’s story was that in order to become an author you should read , write and write some more. No-one ever published an unfinished novel ( Note to myself here). At the end of each chapter the editor , Monique Mulligan , has included five handy tips from each author, which I know I’ll re-read again and again.
Anna Jacobs, historical fiction author of more than 70 novels, gives tips about writing in this genre where doing your research and having a strong sense of character and setting is key. She tries to find a slant within her era which is completely different to what everyone else is doing. Historical fiction readers are very knowledgeable and are notorious for picking up on any inaccuracy , so research must be meticulous.
Kylie Kaden’s beautifully written essay has the title, ‘ The Accidental Writer’ . Kylie was one of those secret writers who hid in the laundry writing or wrote whilst her children were napping until her manuscript was fully formed. Kylie sent her manuscript to the slush pile at Random House. She almost missed the email offering to publish ‘ Losing Kate ‘ as it had landed in her trash folder.
Deborah Disney wrote her novel ‘ Up and In’ waiting by the school gates, in the pick-up zone or sitting by the netball field. When a friend said her tale about private school mums and netball was a bit like Liane Moriarty , she googled the author . Deborah sent her manuscript off to Harper Collins, the first name to pop up. This was a happy mistake for Deborah as Liane Moriarty wasn’t published by Harper Collins at all. Kate, a supportive editor there loved her work and offered to publish her story in e-book format.
There are 22 more essays included by authors like Natasha Lester, Tess Woods and Jenn J McLeod . Each narrative and author’s story is different- some funny, some emotional and many triumphant. All are inspiring for readers and writers alike.
So if you like me are a reader or writer you will be motivated and touched by these well –crafted stories.
The stories encourage and inspire you and make you realise you are not alone in pursuing the writing dream. They also give an insight into some of your favourite author’s motivations , struggles and ultimate persistence. ‘ Writing the Dream’ will be released on November 18 in bookshops and online or visit serenity press.org