Today I'm delighted to have a guest post from the wonderful Karen Aldous on Little Northern Soul, as part of The Riviera blog tour! So without further ado, I give you Karen...
Discovery through writing
Having now completed my third novel, I thought about how far I had come in less than three years. I still have to pinch myself. If, like me, you long to write a romance novel and get it published, there are some discoveries that I would like to share. When I was younger, I loved reading and writing, and was always fascinated with who authors were, and how they managed to bring these characters to life. Author bio’s and a few magazine articles were all we readers had access to then, unlike all the books and blogs available now. Over the years, more material became available, writing magazines and ‘How to’ books authors such as Stephen King, Sue Moorcroft, Kate Walker to name but a few wrote about the craft. Since I set out on my mission to get my first novel, ‘The Vineyard’ from my head to the publisher, in January 2012, I have found there is so much help available now which I’d recommend to new writers.
The first discovery was the Romantic Novelists’ Association and their New Writers scheme. I’d read about it a few years before but timing was never right! Joining this scheme set my mind and fingers in motion to get my novel written. Why? Because a professional reader or writer will read your manuscript and, critique it for the market you’re aiming it at. It is excellent feedback for your first work. From enrolling, I had eight months until the deadline, and boy, was that motivating. It’s a route I’d heartily recommend. But, even if you don’t get on the scheme, the important thing is to finish your novel. Once you have that first draft, leave it for a few weeks, edit and send it out. No editor or agent can read a blank page.
The next thing which I discovered was the events I could attend as an associate member of the RNA. I was like, and still am, a kiddy in a candy shop. Lots of authors I’d read, happy to welcome me and offer advice and support. I’d suggest noting down any questions you may have before an event, especially if you get star-struck like me, and, I wish I had asked more. But someone will be happy to answer on any aspect of writing if they can. The point is, even though I wasn’t published, I began to believe in myself as a writer and was given the opportunity to meet publishers and agents at various events. I can assure you, the writing community are very friendly. In addition, the workshops, talks, and conference are all geared to offer writing expertise from successful authors. Luckily I am close to London, but there are chapters and members’ groups all around the country.
One final discovery which I throroughly recommend is getting to a local creative writing class. I still regularly attend The Write Place, in Kent, local to me, which has been of huge benefit to my writing; from creating a gripping opening chapter to giving your characters depth, discussions on markets for your work etc., etc., to all the much needed and lovely support it offers. I’ve still tonnes to learn but, the steps I climbed above were the first and, as I discover more, I will share at a later stage.
Good luck with your writing and I hope to one day meet you at the RNA and even better, read your book.
About the author
Karen Aldous enjoys village life on the edge of the north-downs in Kent with easy access to the buzz of London. Not only does she love the passive pleasures of reading and writing, she also craves the more active pursuits with her family and friends such as walking, cycling and skiing especially when they involve food and wine! Karen gets much of her inspiration from her travels and if she had to choose, France, Greece, Switzerland, Italy and Lake Tahoe in US would be her favourites. However, wherever she goes, she discovers a new character emerges in 'Karen's World'. She likes to write about strong independent women who can direct their own lives - but struggle to control them! And, of course there's always a gorgeous hunk or two!
It’s been a hard journey, but Lizzie Lambert’s life is a Provençal dream come true. Her business is wildly successful, and with her little boy and the love of her life, Cal, she is making a beautiful home on the vineyard for their blended family.
But when Cal goes to America to support his son through a teenage crisis, it becomes clear the kid’s not the only one with some growing up to do: Cal’s glamorous ex-wife wants to get her claws in him again. As Cal spends longer and longer away, Lizzie wonders, was it all too good to be true?
Escape to Provence with Karen Aldous’ The Riviera, the perfect read for an idyllic summer.