So How Did I Get Published?

I suppose it all began with that first spark of an idea, the one that led me to developing the storyline for Yesterday’s Sun and oh how I wish I could remember it in perfect detail! All I have is a vague recollection that I had been walking through Liverpool city centre when I started thinking about time travel…as you do…and to be honest, I spend lots of time toying with ideas for my writing and most are completely forgettable but this one persisted. I couldn’t help thinking about what it would be like for me to go back in time and change events so that my son would have survived his battle against cancer or even just to have the chance to hold him again. Yesterday’s Sun allowed my heroine to do the one thing that I couldn’t and the more the ideas began to form in my mind, the more I became determined to get to that scene where Holly could scream at the world: ‘Take me, not my child!’

I started writing Yesterday’s Sun in May 2010 and by November I was ready to face the daunting task of convincing someone to publish my book. I knew I had to find an agent first as publishers rarely take on authors directly so I looked in the Artists and Writers Yearbook and picked three that represented my particular genre and followed their submission guidelines. I didn’t hold out much hope, I don’t think anyone does if you look at the odds of being able to convince an agent to take you on, so while I waited for responses, I was already listing the other agents I’d try next. I was stunned, amazed and beyond excited when Luigi Bonomi took an interest in the manuscript but he suggested some pretty major changes before he’d commit. I would have been mad to ignore the advice of a highly regarded literary agent so Christmas was cancelled and I set about the rewrite. By February 2011 I had another version ready and this time Luigi loved it. My manuscript was ready to be sent to the publishers and essentially my work was over. It was all down to Luigi now and for the most part all I had to do was wait for that call. I might not clearly remember the moment I had the idea for Yesterday’s Sun but I do remember that call from Luigi telling me I had a two book deal with HarperCollins. I was crying when I phoned my daughter to tell her and she actually thought I’d had some bad news.

I now had not only an agent but an absolutely lovely editor, Sarah Ritherdon but of course that meant that more rewrites were in store and it was probably autumn by the time the editing was complete. The original publication date was April 2012 but then I had another one of those never to be forgotten phone calls. I was walking down Matthew Street in Liverpool when Sarah phoned to say that Yesterday’s Sun had been selected for the Richard and Judy Spring Book Club and I had to sit down on a doorstep to take it all in. It wasn’t all good news though…I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone until the official launch in January 2012 and it was still only October but who was I to complain?!!

The week that Yesterday’s Sun was published was surreal. I went down to London the day before to be interviewed by Richard and Judy and the next day…publication day…I was back in the office doing my day job. OK I was surrounded by flowers, balloons and banners from my work mates but it was still back to normality, doing the job I’ve done for the last twenty five years and trying to adjust to my new double life.

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