We have a winner!

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Well, as promised, all the returned surveys about ‘Secrets Such As These‘ were entered into a prize draw. Thanks to all who have completed the survey. All the feedback is extremely useful. We allowed the competition to run an extra week and randomly generated a winner today. And the winner is – Sandra Bambro. Well done, Sandra, your £20 Amazon voucher has been emailed to you today. I know you have almost finished your Christmas shopping, but maybe this will help with the final items! Please keep the surveys coming in. I need the feedback before I can move on to the next stage of finding an agent and getting my novel published!

To complete the survey online click here.

Precious moments such as these….

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Watching Dr Who on Saturday with the family, I am suddenly bouncing up and down on the sofa in excitement. The Doctor has just torn the last page out of the novel he is reading, claiming that he does not like knowing how a story will end. This is just like my Freya who tears out the final page of books to collect happy endings. Freya, daughter of Joanna, who tears page 51 out of every book for entirely different reasons.

‘They stole my idea! How did they do that?……No, wait….everyone will think I stole their idea…that’s so not fair!’

Discussing this further with my writer friend Simon Morden (a sci fi writer who had obviously seen the episode of Dr Who) the next morning, he helpfully describes this weird coincidence as an idea that has currency at a certain time (kind of floating around in the collective imagination if you will). We all think we are the first. We all think our idea is original. And in this case, who cares? I am on the same page as the writers of Dr Who – how cool is that!

And then there was Sunday night – another precious moment. Ten of us sat round a table enjoying cheese and wine. And discussing my book. Answering questions about my novel. Unpicking the issues. Bringing individual interpretations to the storyline. Empathising with the characters. Life does not get any better than that, surely.

And so to share the experience with all of you, we will post one question every couple of days on Facebook. Starting from tomorrow. Do feel free to join in. The more the merrier, as they say.

The second wave

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Having launched ‘Secrets Such As These’ on the 1st September, the novel is now being introduced to a second wave of readers. The first wave embraced the novel and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. But then, these were my friends and family. Maybe they were just being nice. Maybe they were afraid of offending me. Maybe the appeal of the novel was in the fact that they actually knew me. Most couldn’t believe that I could have written ‘something as good as this’ – their words not mine – which is one of those ambiguous compliments that I have forced myself not to over-analyse. Some read the whole book in one sitting – one until three thirty in the morning! Some who would not describe themselves as regular readers have been surprised at how they have been drawn into the plot and cannot wait to read on. Thank you to all of you for your encouragement and constructive criticism.

But now those initial readers are recommending the book to a friend or colleague. People I have never met are now reading my novel. People all over the country are completing my survey. These are the people who will definitely not be afraid to say what they really think. These are the people with nothing to lose. I can’t wait to read what they have to say.

And then these readers will hopefully recommend it to their colleagues and friends..and so on…and so on. This is so exciting. My novel gains in value every time anyone enjoys reading it, finds it compelling and is stimulated by the issues raised. I love hearing from you all. Thank you for your feedback. Keep the surveys coming in.

And PS: don’t forget the deadline for the prize draw is this Sunday, September 30th.