The Runaway Year – The Countdown

With less than a week to go to the release of The Runaway Year, it’s getting exciting! From concept to publication, however, was something of a journey with highs and lows and several changes of title en route! For a budding author, I can’t recommend highly enough getting a professional critique of your work before sending it off to agents/publishers – yes it costs, but it’s worth it.

Once I had finished my masterpiece, I sent it off to Writers Workshop and waited eagerly for their reply, convinced they would say how magnificent it was, how romance writers would quake in terror when I burst onto the scene. How wrong I was! It did come back but not with the praise I was expecting, oh no, I was told if I wanted any hope of getting it published, to re-write it entirely. Sob! By entirely, I queried, do you mean every last page? Oh yeah. After a week of wailing and gnashing my teeth, I sat back down at my computer and read through the report again. Two things were written that I held on to:

‘You can write, you are eminently readable and you will be published one day.’

‘The only difference between a published writer and a non-published writer is that the published writer didn’t give up.’

Wiping away floods of tears, I thought ‘okay, I hear ya, I’m going to do exactly what you’ve advised me to do’ – rewrite the story and include not one point of view but three. Three? Yikes! But from the very first sentence I knew the critique was right. The story was much stronger for it, much more fun and the characters came alive, so much so in fact, they ended up writing the story for me – I became merely a set of fingers flying over the keyboard!

What I’m trying to say is invest in your writing and don’t be afraid of criticism – it can only make you a stronger writer. Well, the book was re-written (entirely), sent off to various publishers and the response was amazing. I decided to go with Omnific Publishing because I’ve read and loved several of their books, it’s an honour and a privilege to be in the same stable with writers such as Carol Oates, Nicki Elson, Justine Dell and Debra Anastasia – a dream come true.

And to whet your appetite for the rewritten, retitled book, here’s an excerpt:

Finding herself on the way to the village center again, she pulled over, intending to negotiate a three-point turn. The cottage was slightly out of the village, so she needed to get back onto the opposite side of the road and go back up the hill. Glancing over Hannah’s instructions again, she swung the car to the right—straight into the path of a motorcyclist.
What happened next seemed to happen in slow motion. The rider tried to stop but couldn’t do so in time, although he did manage to avoid hitting her car. As he turned his handlebars hard to the right, his tires lost grip on the wet road and he flew off, sliding some way before coming to a halt.
Layla sat motionless in her car, paralyzed temporarily by the shock. At last she managed to galvanize herself into action and fumbled for the door handle, her shaking hands making it hard to get a grip. When the door finally opened, another dilemma hit. What if she couldn’t stand? Her legs felt like jelly, surely they wouldn’t support her. Forcing herself upward, she was relieved to discover they held firm. Once she was sure they would continue to do so, she bolted over to where the biker lay, placed one hand on his soaking leather-clad shoulder and said, “Are you okay?”
“No, I’m not bloody okay!” he replied, a pair of bright blue eyes meeting hers as he lifted his visor. “I’m a bit bruised and battered as it goes.”
Despite his belligerent words, relief flooded through her: he wasn’t dead!
“Oh, I’m so glad,” she said, letting out a huge sigh.
“Glad?” he said, sitting up now and brushing the mud and leaves off his left arm. “Charming.”
“Oh, no, no,” she stuttered, realizing what she’d just said. “I’m not glad that I knocked you over. I’m glad you’re alive.”
“Only just, I think,” he replied, needing a helping hand to stand up.
“Can I give you a lift somewhere, take you to the nearest hospital?”
“The nearest hospital? That would be in Bodmin, I think, about fifteen miles from here. I don’t fancy driving fifteen miles with you behind the wheel.”
Feeling a little indignant now, Layla replied, “I’m actually a very good driver, thank you. You’re the first accident I’ve ever had.”
“Lucky me,” he replied sarcastically.

You can add it to your Goodreads TBR list and Amazon links coming soon!

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7 thoughts on “The Runaway Year – The Countdown

  1. Ha, great excerpt, Shani! I’m so looking forward to reading this!

    Thanks for sharing the pains and jubilations of your publication journey – it’s different for each of us and yet there will always be elements in each one that other writers can relate to. 🙂

    xx

    • Hi Joanna, thanks for popping over and your lovely comments. I love hearing about writer’s journeys too, it’s fascinating and, as Lizzie says below, the trials and tribulations we often suffer, it’s no wonder writers bond together!! xxx

      • Indeed! And to feed into your comments with Lizzie about feedback from others, I have to say that comments from members of our local Writers’ Circle (on the short stories, at least) have been invaluable. Our members are kind, yet not afraid to be clear on what they think! x

  2. Hi Shani. start again. wrote a great long post and it vanished. Grrrr. Anyhoo, congratulations on the forthcoming publication of your novel. I can’t wait to read it and will be taking it to the Isle of Wight with me in August to do just that. Very apt considering the title. I know you;ve worked incredibly hard to get to this stage (small wonder that writers bond together!) and I wish you great success. Thanks for the writing tips, too. Always appreciated. I truly believe that the only writers who get published are those who don;t give up. Power to you (our) elbows.

    • Ah, Lizzie, I feel your pain – I hate it when that happens! Thanks for popping over and your lovely comments, I hope it’s a worthy holiday read for you!!!! I really can’t extol the virtues of the Writer’s Workshop enough, they helped me no end. Hopefully though, with a bit more experience under my belt I won’t need them next time – then again, I’m not counting them out either, lol!!!! xxx

  3. ‘The only difference between a published writer and a non-published writer is that the published writer didn’t give up.’

    Words to live by for all writers! I’m so glad that you didn’t let that critique stop you from pursuing your publishing dream, Shani. I always say that writers have to embrace their inner masochists to survive because there’s so much rejection and criticism in this business. It’s so great that you stuck with it and now you’re getting your happy ending! I can’t wait to read “The Runaway Year” and I look forward to hosting you and your book on my blog in August.

    Wishing you much success with TRY! I love the acronym for your book. It’s very fitting! 🙂

    • Hi Tracie, lovely to see you here! Yes, those words really did strike a chord. The critique was right though, you can give up or you can dust yourself off, sit back down at your desk and start all over again. I hadn’t realised til much later re the acronym for the book, but you’re right, it’s very, very apt! xxx

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