Firstly, apologies. It’s been quite some time since my last blog post, so it was high time I gave you an update. Also, I have some good news to report.
SAFE HANDS . . . AGAIN
As listeners to my show, The Joined-Up Writing Podcast will know, I’ve been on my latest submissions journey for the past 10 months or so with a totally new version of my crime thriller, Safe Hands. This is a novel that has been kicking around for a long time now, but this version of the book is a total re-write with a different story, an additional female POV character and a radically different tone to my earlier effort. I was ready to abandon the book but my good friend and talented writer, Ericka Waller, convinced me to try again and suggested I try a different approach. I’m proud of the resulting novel.
Whilst I haven’t sent the book to tons of agents, so far I’m yet to get any real interest and I obviously want to give myself the best chance possible. Perhaps sensing my soul-crushing disappointment and impatience, the Twitter algorithm threw up a link to something called ThrillPit.
It pairs unagented, aspiring writers of thriller and crime novels with mentors to help them with their manuscripts and guide them through the publishing process. All mentors are traditionally published, experienced authors and I noticed that one of them was Lauren North. I had briefly met Lauren when she was a guest on Joined-Up and, coincidentally, she had only recently given me some of the most constructively useful feedback on my work I’ve ever had. So as soon as I saw she was one of the mentors, I knew I had to at least try to get on the scheme. Each author was only taking on one mentee. The submissions window was brief, with fierce competition to secure a place. To submit, writers needed to send their cover letter and opening chapters for consideration. To my absolute surprise and delight – I was accepted! I am now Lauren’s mentee.
MY MENTOR – LAUREN NORTH
Lauren writes domestic thrillers under her own name and book club thrillers as LC North. Her latest book is The Ugly Truth, which you should definitely check out. Lauren and I have already started working on the opening of Safe Hands and her ideas and suggestions really chime with what I’m trying to do with the book and even stuff as simple as changing the order of chapters has made a big difference.
A CONFIDENCE BOOST
Having a successful, traditionally published author as your mentor doesn’t automatically guarantee that you will find an agent, but having someone like Lauren in my corner is a massive boost to my morale and has got me fired up to really push for something to happen in this coming year. Lauren understands the genre and even from our initial discussions, I can tell she is on a similar wavelength. She gets my writing, which is just so encouraging and inspiring. It’s a great way to start the first part of my writing year and, as you can probably tell . . . I’m thrilled. You can hear Lauren North’s return interview on Joined-Up Writing here, or on your favourite podcast app.
What about you? How do you feel about mentors? Have you been lucky enough to find other writers and creatives to support you on your writing journey? Maybe you’re a mentor yourself – I’d love to hear about why you love to help other writers. Let me know in the comments below.