Today we have the next in our series featuring this year’s Joan Hessayon Award contenders. Welcome to Debbie Flint and thank you for answering our questions.
How long have you been writing? Is this your first published piece?
I’ve always written, but nothing serious. Then I went to a Mills and Boon writing workshop in Tuscany with top M&B author Jessica Hart in 2009. A writing exercise there, eventually became this book! It is my first finished novel and was initially self-published.
How many years were you a member of the NWS and did you submit a manuscript each year?
I joined NWS in around 2011, and submitted the draft versions of what became Take a Chance on Me two consecutive years, before I eventually self-published the book summer 2013.
What came first, agent or publisher?
Choc lit do not deal with agents so I haven't really approached anyone with my romance. That’s on the cards for another project however, which I am working on with another writer.
How did you find your publisher?
Choc Lit became interested in it since I kept meeting Lyn Vernham, the MD, at various writing events, and in Summer 2014 I met Lyn to ask her about an offer concerning my day job. That deal didn’t come off, instead I did something else with QVC. As a result, I told Lyn I’d like them to publish my book and once it had been through their testing team they offered me a contract :-)
Lyn Vernham was present at several workshops and also RNA events and I used to chat to her there. Plus I was regularly featuring Choc Lit authors as my Book of the Week on my writing blog, 'Read it Write it Sell it,' on my website. Then I met Lyn to ask her advice about a book project involving my day job, QVC. I decided to submit to Choc Lit around that time and thankfully it passed their tasting panel, the beta readers who have to like a new novel in order for Lyn to consider taking it. When I chose to do a different book project with QVC, I told Lyn I’d be delighted for them to take it.
Do you have a contract for one book or more?
The contract for the first in the trilogy came next with the option for the other two if all went well.
When was your book published?
With Choc Lit, Ebook went out April 2015, paperback end of November 2015.
Feisty single mum and businesswoman Sadie Turner is on a man ban. She needs an investor fast for a life-changing offer but salvation comes in the form of a playboy billionaire. Poor-boy made good, Mac, has a rule never to mix business with pleasure – until Sadie. From Monaco to Hawaii, via luxury yacht and private jet they have thirty days to seal the deal – and stay out of love.
It’s a steamy romance with a twist. First in the new ‘Hot Choc’ imprint, it has ‘slightly raised’ heat levels! Not quite 50 shades – about 7 or 8 – and all vanilla!
What are you currently working on?
The follow up which is the story of Sadie’s sister Helen. As she flies around the world on assignments for her famous ‘Try it For the First Time Club’ online column, a secret from her past throws up a bigger challenge than any she has ever faced – involving a mystery man, the father she never knew, and a dangerous sports event in Hawaii!
What piece of advice would you give current members of the NWS?
Realise there is such a thing as a SFD, shabby first draft (ok some don’t say shabby but you can guess!) This revelation meant I did not feel I had to make every paragraph perfect before I wrote the next one, rather, aim to get to the end of your first draft and THEN go back and edit. Emma Darwin told me at a workshop that you use a different part of your brain for writing the first draft, and a different part for editing, and it takes a while to get from one part to the other and back again. So stop toggling between the two and just write and write and write – get the story down on paper or screen. Plus, top author Elizabeth Chadwick says you can't edit a blank page, that was another little gem. I love the editing stage best, and procrastinate along with the best of them whilst writing the first draft. But finishing that final sentence and writing the first ‘The end’ is such a satisfying feeling, it's all worth it.
Twitter - @debbieflint
Thank you, Debbie, we hope you have a fabulous evening at the RNA Summer Party and good luck with your writing career.
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