A: I had a great time with the contest. Apart from receiving a rejection for the same manuscript two days after entering. It was actually quite liberating after the initial rejection meltdown. I figured I had nothing to lose so just enjoyed the camaraderie. I managed to read over 200 of the entries and the synopses for quite a few more.
I think the best part was getting to know so many other writers going through the same process. I’m still in touch with quite a few.
Q: We were required to upload the first chapter as our entry in SYTYCW. Is that chapter still in its original form or has it gone through more revisions?
A: I noticed a couple of typos and that I hadn’t described what my heroine was wearing. Those were fixed but otherwise not a lot of changes. The book was more or less finished before the contest but I revised the first chapter drastically before entering.
Q: How about the rest of the book? Is it finished? Going through more revisions?
A: The entire book was revised along the same lines as the first chapter after the contest. I received a full request from Harlequin UK immediately after SYTYCW finished. I finished the revisions and sent it off a couple of weeks later.
Q: Any thoughts on submitting your entry to another publisher or agent?
A: I will wait to see how that request from Harlequin UK works out before considering other options.
Q: How long have you been writing?
A: I could say all my life. I had some poetry published as a child and started writing romances that I never finished in my teens. Once I had a family I stopped writing for many years though I still read copiously. I seriously began writing again in September 2010. Since then I’ve manage to complete quite a few stories to the HEA stage which is an accomplishment in itself.
Q: Have you ever entered a contest like this one before?
A: I discovered SYTYCW 2011 when it was half over and quickly entered one of my completed stories. I suspect it wasn’t even properly formatted as it was the first one I wrote and I didn’t have a clue. It probably looked like an old university English assignment but longer. I also entered two stories into the Valerie Parv Award and had some useful feedback.
Q: What are your thoughts about the promotional aspect of the contest?
A: I assume you are referring to the self promotion side of the contest. I found it quite difficult but enjoyed promoting the other entries I enjoyed. I think having the rejection for that MS made it harder to consider that my entry was worth promoting.
In terms of the overall promotional aspect of the contest I think it was a great way to raise the profile of Romance and Romance Writers.
Q: If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently, if anything?
A: Not enter a Manuscript that was already under consideration. I’d actually forgotten it was out there because I have several stories I’m preparing. Remembering which ones I’d subbed six months ago and which were already rejected is a job in itself. I have a spreadsheet but I don’t study it religiously.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I did pitches for two manuscripts at the RWAus2012 conference at the Gold Coast here in Australia. Both received some interest and one three chapter request is with HarlequinUK at present. I am revising the rest of the MS and working on another MS that I’ve been invited to submit to another publisher. I always have something fresh on the go as well.
Q: Where can we find you on the Web?
A: I have a blog I do the occasional thing with at http://apleasantbook.blogspot.com.au/ I am planning a website but am focusing on getting my writing up to scratch at present. I’m on Twitter as @FionaMarsden2.
Thanks for sharing, Fiona!