Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Rachael Thomas: Second Book Wobbles

Today we welcome, Rachael Thomas to the blog to talk about that second book. So many of us recall the thrill of our first published book but does it get any easier?

I’ve always loved reading romance and writing is something I’ve done since I was a child. I live and work on a farm in Wales, a far cry from the glamour of my stories, but that makes slipping into the world of my characters all the more appealing. When I’m not writing or working on the farm, I love nothing more than to visit grand historic house or ancient castles.
Book number two!
Finally achieving my long awaited dream and getting ‘the call’ was an amazing moment. I was going to be published! In 2013 I had entered my latest completed manuscript into Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write competition and had made it to the Top 10 – the public voting round. This fantastic achievement, lead to an even better one and in January last year, I was offered a two book contract. But after the elation and the celebration came the doubt. Lots of it! I was at that point, working on a new story, but suddenly that story went from being just something I was writing for fun, to being the second book of my contract. Writing was no longer something I did if I wanted to or could fit it into the busy life of running a farm. I had to write the book.

So what did I do? Probably what most authors who are about to be published for the first time do - panic! The story idea and the characters I’d developed were suddenly under the spotlight and doubt circled overhead like threatening storm clouds. Instead of asking myself what was different about the story which led to publication to the previous eight completed manuscripts I had languishing on my computer, I wobbled. Thankfully, with encouragement from my editor and a fantastic group of friends, The Write Romantics, I managed to overcome this.

Add to this, the fact that everything about becoming published was new and there was so much to learn – and of course the small matter of deadlines. I felt like a very small fish which had been set free into a massive pond. It was thrilling and terrifying all at the same time, but I wouldn’t change it at all. Through working with my editor and making the revisions to that story, I learnt so much.
So what was different with the competition entry which brought about my dream come true? It was the story I had to tell, the story from my heart. All of my previous manuscripts were written with a ‘checklist’ of what to do and what not to do and I thought it was necessary to adhere to completely. Of course there are certain boundaries within all genres, but learning to work within them and still allow you, the author, onto the page is what matters.
Thankfully I made it through those days of self-doubt and my second book; Claimed by the Sheikh, for Mills and Boon Modern is out now.
For anyone who is having those ‘second book wobbles’ all I can say is don’t panic, enjoy the moment of knowing you are writing for real, but never lose that writing for fun feeling. Once I’d told myself this, everything settled down.

If you have tips on how to deal with that second book, I’d love to hear them!


Thank you, Rachael and good luck with book number two!

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