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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > November 2017 > SUBSCRIBER SPOTLIGHT


Share your writing success stories. If you subscribe to Writing Magazine and would like to feature here, email Tina Jackson,


Balloons take flight

99 Red Balloons is the fifth manuscript I’ve written,’ writes subscriber Elisabeth Carpenter.

‘Reading How I got published every month in Writing Magazine inspired me to keep going, as it’s rare an author gets a book deal with the first manuscript they write.

‘I started writing short stories in the late 1990s when my eldest son was little, but it wasn’t until my second son was born (fourteen years later!) that I began my first novel. I spent three years writing and rewriting it. I sent it to so many agents, I ran out of places to email it. I thought about self-publishing – I even had a cover commissioned – but then began writing another. This was shortlisted in various competitions and received several full manuscript requests, but ultimately no offers of representation.

‘Whilst this was on submission, I had an idea for another manuscript: 99 Red Balloons. I sent it to agents who had requested to see “other work”. I received several offers of representation for this book. It was a surreal time – I couldn’t believe it. The next nail-biting time would be finding the right publisher.

‘The book went on submission in the summer of 2016 while I was on holiday in Cornwall. At first, I tried not to look at emails, but ended up checking every notification. In the August, we had an offer from Phoebe Morgan at Avon HarperCollins. It all happened so fast, I still can’t believe it’s real.

99 Red Balloons follows Stephanie after her eight-year-old niece disappears, and family secrets bubble to the surface. Stephanie helps support Emma through the search for her daughter – after all, they are sisters – or so everyone thinks.

‘Meanwhile, Maggie’s granddaughter was abducted in the 1980s. She watches a police appeal for a missing child – one of the women on the news looks strangely familiar. What starts as a passing thought becomes an obsession that soon spirals and takes over her life.

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About Writing Magazine

You've written your book - now it's time to sell it! Read our features on 7 easy ways to start marketing and how to boost your Amazon sales. We also look at what's really going on with those creative writing myths that seen to have become truisms. Check out what mythbusting story consultant Jeff Lyons has to say. Our star interview is with the hugely talented children's writer and illustrator Cressida Cowell, who has started a new series after the amazing success of How To Train Your Dragon. It was a real pleasure to talk to her about dragons, history, why children love magical creatures and, of course, writing! There's £37,700 to be won in writing prizes, pages packed with opportunities in Writers' News, and much, much more in this month's issue.