Since I finished the last round of edits on Far From the Tree, I’ve been entering the odd few thousand words of it, usually the the first three chapters, into writing competitions to see how it gets on. In fact, it was the feedback from the Florida Romance Writers’ Association back in November that made me realise there was a question of genre I hadn’t addressed directly. While I thought I’d been writing a romance, I’d actually ended up writing commercial women’s fiction with a strong romantic theme!
Since then, I’ve tossed some words into two or three more competitions, and got some more encouraging feedback. While I wasn’t shortlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize, the judge who critiqued my submission compared my style of writing to Joanna Trollope, which, obviously, was a huge compliment. She also made some interesting comments about my synopsis, which can be easily addressed, so it’s all to the good.
But the feedback that really has me walking on air at the moment is why I’ve put that banner at the top of this post. Yes, I was a runner up in the Woman/Accent Press writing competition! This was a big deal, in competition terms, for a number of reasons, not least because one of the judges was Katie Fforde, a giant of the genre I’m aspiring to get into. The knowledge that Katie Fforde had read my submission was a huge boost, and when I found out last week I was a runner up, I was over the moon. It would have been even better to have won, but considering this was only the third competition I’d entered, a runner’s up place is good enough for me :). Katie Forde’s tweet reply to me was the icing on the cake 🙂
So, what next then? Well, there’s still the Mumsnet Get Published competition, which closes on 30th January, and I’m going to formally submit Far From the Tree to Accent again, to see if they might be interested in taking it any further. If those options don’t yield anything, then I’ll just keep trying. I said a couple of weeks ago that I really feel 2015 is Far From the Tree’s year, and I’m determined to make it happen!