Newsletter Topics: the latest on my novel; recent blog posts; books I've read or am reading; 'Writing the Dream' anthology pre-order; Booklength Project Group meeting for writers. 
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It's been a long time coming but I can finally write the words I've barely dared to hope for when I began this novel-writing journey: 

I have a publishing contract!

Allen and Unwin have accepted my novel and it will be published in September 2017!

There have been times I've wondered what the heck I was doing and why, and when I've doubted whether I could even write, let alone write anything that might be published. It's taken countless (literally) drafts, incalculable hours, umpteen crises of confidence, and a million moments of desperation and self-doubt. Sometimes, I nearly gave the dream away. 

But I'm so glad I didn't—it's all been worth it.

Many of you have been following my novel-writing trek for some time now, a few of you since I 'came out' as a writer back in March 2013. Here are some of the milestones I've recorded along the way:
  • I finished a first draft;
  • I finished a fourth draft;
  • I won a residential fellowship to Varuna;  
  • I was rejected for a manuscript development programme (twice, actually, but it didn't upset me so much the second time—you kind of get used to it after a while!);
  • I was shortlisted for the TAG Hungerford Award;
  • I didn't win the TAG Hungerford Award;
  • I sent my book to an agent who gave me blunt-but-very-good feedback, and I set about a massive rewrite
  • After ten months, I finished rewriting my novel and sent it back to the same agent;
  • The agent liked my rewritten novel and accepted me as her client.
And now, I have a publishing contract with one of the best publishing houses in Australia. And my publisher even sent me a nice email to welcome me:
I don't know that I can adequately describe how I felt when I was told my book was going to be published—to say I was overwhelmed and emotional just doesn't do it justice. It was one of the most exquisite moments of my life. In fact, I don't believe I've ever had another moment like it, and I don't know that I ever will again.

There will be more hard work and decisions to come. And a title change—you might have noticed I haven't been using the old title lately. I was slightly attached to it—I loved it, actually, and when I was told they wanted to change it, I felt as if they were asking me to change the name of my baby. But I don't mind anymore—I'm actually looking forward to finding a new title. (Suggestions welcome!)

Once again, I thank every person who's supported me in any way since this trek began, especially the people I thanked in this post.

You have no idea how much any encouragement, no matter how small it might seem, means to a writer. Comments on blog posts, Likes on Facebook, and personal messages are all boosts to the confidence and keep us going. You've helped in more ways than you'll ever know.

Please stick around for rest of the ride—I know the most exciting part is about to begin!

Meanwhile in the Attic ...

I dusted and tidied the attic (metaphorically, not in reality), and invited other writers in to write about their lives and what writing means to them. The series is called, 'Writers in the Attic', and so far I've posted essays from Emily Paull, who wrote on being a writer in your twenties; Marlish Glorie on writing in your sixties; Maureen Helen on writing when nearly eighty; Robyn Mundy on writing in the Arctic; Monique Mulligan on vulnerability; Karen Cades on writing again after writers' block; Michelle Johnston on writing and being a doctor; and Jenn McLeod on embracing a second chance.

Slip over and read some of these diverse and humbling insights into the writing life. 

Any writer is welcome to contribute to this series—let me know via return email or via the Contact page on my website if you're interested.

Coming Up:

I have a few treats in store for the coming weeks: Elisabeth Hanscombe writes on the difficulties of being a psychotherapist and an autobiographer; Shannon Meyerkort talks about being a writer but not an author; and Nadia King writes about something all women over a certain age relate to: the mammogram.

I've just read ...

I've just finished Colm Toibin's 'Brooklyn'. No doubt many of you have already read it or seen the movie, so I won't repeat the plot. I thought the novel painted a realistic portrait of what it was like for Irish immigrants to America in the mid-20th century. I liked the formal writing style and the sense of distance that brought, although I don't think I'd attempt it myself. I loved the characterisation, especially Mrs Kehoe. Overall, I thought it was a moving story about homesickness and family and love.

I'm reading ...

I'm midway through Sam Carmody's 'The Windy Season'. This book is about a young man, Paul, whose older brother, Elliott, has gone missing. Paul heads up to 'Stark', a fictional small town on the Western Australian coast, to search for him. The town is full of nefarious characters, and there's a sense of foreboding building as I read. The descriptions are gritty and the dialogue is coarse and realistic, really taking the reader out to sea aboard the cray-boats and into the bars of the town. The characters are well drawn, and I expect to see this book on awards shortlists next year.

I'm about to read ...

I'm about to start Brigid Lowry's 'Guitar Highway Rose'. This is a YA novel, and one of the reasons I'm reading it is because I'm interviewing Brigid at FAWWA on Saturday, October 8. (If you're interested, tickets are available here, and include afternoon tea.) I've read Brigid's memoir-cum-writing book, 'Still Life With Teapot', and met Brigid when she was a guest speaker at the Booklength Project Group. I'm very much looking forward to reading her novel and talking to her in October. 

What I've Been Writing ...

This section will be short because there hasn't been much writing going on. I'm only about 15,000 words into Novel 2. With the excitement of a publishing contract, I'm finding it hard to settle down and concentrate. I'm also having difficulty starting from scratch again after being in the editing mindset for so long. I've forgotten a lot of the techniques I used when I wrote my first draft back in 2012, so I've sought help from my creative writing texts, and booked a few workshops, and hopefully they'll get the creative juices flowing again.

Before I go ...

Just two more things:

Firstly, you can pre-order Serenity Press Writing the Dream anthology, which will be released in November. It features 24 writers, including Natasha Lester, Sara Foster, Jenn J McLeod, Anna Jacobs, Juliet Marillier, and me! If you pre-order now, a free notebook is included with your purchase.

Here's a little taster: 
Please click to view
Secondly, Perth writers are welcome to join us on the third Sunday of every month at the Booklength Project Group meetings at the FAWWA. I facilitate this group and our next guest speaker is Michelle Michau-Crawford, author of 'Leaving Elvis and Other Stories'. Click here for more information about the BLPG.

And lastly, a quote:


This pretty much says it all for me.

See you all next month!


Louise x

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(Far more often than is good for me.)
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