I’ve been on a very long journey and this coming Thursday I’ll arrive.
No, it’s not one of my usual train or plane journeys to far-flung places, although in many ways this is not a bad way to describe my recent steps through the hallowed doors into a traditional publisher’s world, namely The News Building (opposite the Shard) where HarperCollins resides.
Although I’ve already had five books published – one of them a memoir which was traditionally published – I wanted my novels to be snapped up by one of the top five. Coming close so many times was dispiriting when I had proof that so many readers loved Books 1 and 2 of The Voyagers trilogy. But Lady Luck was with me one day at an RNA Conference when an author I’d never met before introduced me to the senior commissioning editor of HarperCollins. I asked her if I could give her my elevator pitch on the third of The Voyagers trilogy, Kitty’s Story. She grinned and nodded, and after I’d spouted the couple of sentences (unrehearsed) she said she would like to see the full ms.
A long time passed. She obviously didn’t like it. Then one evening as I was closing my computer her email popped up. It was a long letter. Yes, she loved Kitty’s Story; it had all the right attributes for a war-time saga, blah, blah, blah. Where’s the BUT? I kept thinking as I frantically skimmed the rest. And there it was. BUT you’ve self-published the first two so we wouldn’t be able to take it on. Massive gut-wrenching disappointment. Then my eyes glued to the next paragraph. There was another BUT. But would you like to write a special war-time series for us? A no-brainer, if ever there was one.
Fast forward one year later and An Orphan in the Snow by Molly Green – a new name to suit the new series – will be published on Thursday 30th November. I’ve written two non-fictions under my own name, Denise Barnes, and The Voyagers trilogy under Fenella Forster, and now this new series set in a Dr Barnardo’s orphanage in Liverpool during the Second World War under Molly Green. Hopefully, I’ll soon start to get to know exactly who Molly Green is!
I do hope my journey will inspire dedicated writers out there who haven’t yet been discovered. Do keep your eyes peeled for that elusive opportunity, but until then, just keep writing the very best book you can. And if you believe (like me) that one day it will happen – then it will!
Haunted by the death of her sister, June Lavender takes a job at a Dr Barnardo’s orphanage. June couldn’t save Clara from their father’s violence, but perhaps she can help children whose lives have been torn apart by war.
A WORLD AT WAR
When June bumps into Flight Lieutenant Murray Andrews on the bombed streets of Liverpool, the attraction is instant. But how can they think of love when war is tearing the world apart?
A FIGHT FOR HOPE
As winter closes in, and the war rages on, can June find the strength and courage to make a better life for herself and the children?