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How I got  published
Writing Magazine

How I got published

Posted 08 December 2017   |   301 views   |   General Interest   |   Comments (0) The author’s debut was actually her sixth novel, she tells Dolores Gordon-Smith

‘As a child I read everything I could, from books at the breakfast table to the labels on shampoo bottles. I knew I wanted to be a writer. However, I was a young girl from Oldham. I thought that all novelists were aristocrats who only wrote about boarding school and spies. I tried to stifle my longing, but it never went away.

‘It was in my twenties, doing a job I hated, that I finally plucked up the courage to try writing a novel. I taught myself to touch type and camped out in WH Smith at lunchtime, where I browsed the books, read blurbs and swatted up on the literary agents noted in the authors’ acknowledgements.

‘The first three novels I wrote were practice runs. From them I learned what I liked to write – warm-hearted, accessible, quirky fiction. A handful of agents took the time to give words of encouragement alongside their rejections, so I didn’t feel too down-hearted.

‘Novels four and five found me an agent, but I didn’t get that elusive publishing deal. So I entered a few short story competitions instead. When I won three of them, it boosted my confidence.

‘Now it was time to get strategic and to raise my game! If my novels about young women hadn’t made it, I would write about an old man. I love jewellery and own a charm bracelet, so I wrote about that. A close friend sadly died so I wrote about bereavement. I used Chocolat, Slumdog Millionaire and Tom Hanks movies as my benchmark and set my sights on finding a new agent.

‘The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper took eighteen months to complete. I wrote it whilst working part-time as a communications manager for the Co-op. I submitted sample chapters to five agents and when four requested to read the book, I just knew that Clare Wallace at Darley Anderson was the right one to represent it.

‘And with this sixth novel, I finally did it.  The book has now been snapped up in eighteen countries worldwide, which seems so surreal for a book about a humble Yorkshireman.

‘I left my job last year and am still getting used to being a full-time writer. After such a long journey to get here, I’m determined to enjoy every moment of it.’

Website: www.phaedra-patrick.com

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Writing Magazine is the UK’s biggest and bestselling magazine for ALL writers. Whether you write for pleasure or publication, whatever your style or genre, this magazine has something to help you.

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