Everyone has secrets. Mine was that while my husband was working away I’d wait till the kids were in bed, get comfortable on the sofa (usually with the aforementioned cat) open the laptop and… write.
I can’t remember exactly when I decided I’d try write a novel but one night I did. It must have been a slow night on TV. Thank goodness I’d never heard of Breaking Bad back then. I’d write a chapter or so over a few evenings, upload it to Wattpad and hope a passing publisher would spot it and snap it up.
I finished the novel. My husband stopped working away. Every so often I’d wonder what to do with it, open the file, footle around and change bits here, add a scene there and so on. Then a Wattpad buddy (to whom I shall be eternally grateful) told me about Harlequin’s ‘So You Think You Can Write’ contest. I entered the first chapter and other than daydreaming about what I’d do if I won, didn’t expect to get anywhere. I certainly wasn’t going to tell anyone. They’d only laugh.
October half term holiday came round and I went down to Cornwall with the family, parents in-law, sister-in-law and brother in-law-in-law for a week in a cottage. I wasn’t going to do any work at all. No marking, no planning, no books, no laptop. No internet connection. Only more cream teas that were healthy and plenty of trips to the beach.
Cornwall isn’t great for phone reception but driving back from meeting a friend on Sunday afternoon the phone rang. Like the responsible driver I am I ignored it until I could find a safe spot to pull in and check the message (for a given value of safe- have you ever seen those country lanes?) There was no real rush, it would only be my husband wondering where I’d got to.
It was an editor from Harlequin asking me to check my email because I was through to the final 50 of the contest and could they please have my full manuscript?
The manuscript that was on my laptop.
What to do??? I couldn’t miss out on this chance but driving back home wasn’t really an option (though I did consider it). By the time I made it back to the cottage I had a plan. Now all I had to do was ask. And confess.
It went down quite well really.