Deep breath, inhale. Hold it, exhale.
It’s happening! I’m writing a book! Well, more like editing a book, seeing as it already exists in draft format, but it’s official. I am so incredibly excited to be able to announce that my debut YA Fantasy Novel, ‘The Life-Giver’, will be published in Spring 2022 by Parliament House Press (see their announcement here)!
It’s real! It exists! It even has a goodreads listing, look here!
I’m absolutely ecstatic. I was only querying for less than three months before I received this offer, and I don’t have a literary agent, so these past few weeks have been a wild ride and a steep learning curve. I plan to write in more detail about the process in the future, along with my experiences and what I would have liked to know going in, but safe to say I am thrilled with the result. It’s a cliché to say it, but signing a publishing contract is genuinely a dream come true.
I wish I could tell little Jase, sitting scribbling stories on whatever scrap bits of paper they could find lying around, that I made it. I’m going to be a published author. We did it, little one. We made it.
I can’t wait to share the story with you all. It’s set in an underground city and has a girl who can talk to the Sun God in her dreams, corruption in the Council, a grumpy outsider who the MCs have to learn to trust, and deeply platonic relationships (my little ace heart is happy). Oh, and a very shy main character who just wants to stay out of trouble (spoiler: he doesn’t succeed).
It’s been a long, tough journey. I’ve suffered badly with ill health, especially over the past seven years, and had to wave goodbye to more than one dream in that time. Severe ME will do that to you – seep into every aspect of your life and slowly take away every single thing that you hold dear.
I couldn’t read or write for six months straight shortly into drafting this novel. I had to write it in bits and pieces, in short half-hour spurts of clarity when the brain fog lifted just enough to allow me a few minutes of brainpower. Some of it I wrote in hospital. Some of it I don’t even remember writing, because the fatigue and pain of my illness has robbed me of those memories (but hey, getting to read it back and rediscover those passages is fun!). I used up endless bouts of precious energy drafting this thing, because I had a story to tell, and I felt like I needed to get those words on a page to tell it.
And now, someone else believes in it.
I hope, one day, you will believe in it too. I hope one day you’ll be able to hold its pages (or stare at it in ebook form, or listen to it’s audiobook) and get to know the story I have to tell. I hope you’ll love it as much as I do – or at least part of the way there, because by this point I’m borderline obsessed with my characters and that’s maybe a bit much to expect from all of you reading this. (Or maybe not. Maybe you will love my characters and my words and my world and– I’m getting ahead of myself).
It’s been two and a half painful years of drafting for this story to come about. Its origins lie in my GCSE coursework, of all things – and I will forever be grateful to Miss Butler, the English teacher who took a look at what 15-year-old me had written and told me it read like a page out of a novel. She inspired me to develop the story into what it’s become today, over a decade later.
It’s been through a lot of change, of course, and I suspect there is more change to come as I get truly stuck into the editing process. I’ve had help along the way, from organisations and from my very closest friends (you know who you are). And I am excited. Now someone else believes in my novel, which honestly means more than I ever expected it to.
Those hours and days and weeks and months of pain and fatigue have ended up worth it, because I have a story to tell, and now I get to share it with the world.
We did it, little Jase. We told our story.
And now I get to share it with you, too.