Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The Story Behind Chasing Pavements

As it’s the two-year anniversary of me first starting my recently published book Chasing Pavements, I feel like sharing the story behind how it came about. This contemporary romance novel sprang to life from a bizarre vision I woke up with on the morning of August 1, 2010.  I opened my eyes with Jamie in my head.  He had just finished performing a gig in a dimly lit, smoky bar and he looked very moody, reluctant.  I could see him so clearly - his hair, his eyes, his demeanour.  As though he was a very good friend, I just knew him - his pain, his apathy, his past, his present. What I didn’t know was his future.  But I wanted to find out.  

I spent the rest of the day thinking about Jamie’s life, his family, and music, formulated a vague plan in my head for the plot and started writing.  I hadn’t written anything for almost a whole year but the narrative flowed so naturally and instinctively from the very beginning. I had no idea whether it was going to be a short story or a novel, all I knew was that I was writing it because I felt like I just had to. Jamie was simply too intriguing to ignore.

The female character Mukti, a young research analyst in London, was supposed to be the opposite of Jamie but she presented herself differently as I started to see the world from her perspective.  She ended up being a bigger mystery than Jamie, revealing her secrets slowly and often changing the direction of the story from where I thought it was heading.  That process was very exciting though. 

Having spent every free evening and weekend writing as much as I could, I completed the first rough draft by the end of the year, and started the laborious process of editing in 2011.  I hadn’t planned for it to be the 168,000-word novel it became, nor had I any plans to try and publish it.  I had only written it because I couldn’t get Jamie and Mukti out of my head, couldn’t stop their story from playing in my mind.  I edited it because I'm a perfectionist and knew that it would only improve if I went over it again.  When I mentioned it to a friend, of course I was persuaded to let her read it.  She said she loved it and encouraged me to try and publish it.

Getting an agent was the first step, so I submitted to six firms in summer 2011. All six rejected it (well, two of them didn’t even reply and another said she couldn't even read the query letter as her list was full!) and I wasn’t expecting anything else.  I knew I hadn’t received enough rejections to make me think that I couldn’t write at all, so instead of submitting to more agents, I decided to further edit and improve the manuscript.  I also started writing something new shortly after I finished Chasing Pavements, so I wanted to focus on that as well. 

During this time, a couple of my friends suggested self-publishing e-books.  This seemed like a great way of testing the market, and if Chasing Pavements was received well, then it would look great when I wrote query letters to agents and publishers.  So at the end of June 2012, I published it via Smashwords and it is now available at the Amazon Kindle Store, Apple iBookStore, Barnes & Noble Nook Store, Diesel eBookStore, and Sony Reader Store.

Submitting to literary agents seems like a long way away now, as I’m busy trying to get the word out about my book.  Juggling a full-time job, my website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, isn’t easy, but it’s a challenge I am enjoying.  I'm also learning so much about marketing and promotions.  If I keep at it, I’m sure I will see the rewards of my labour.

Thank you for reading this post. If you're interested in my debut novel, click the image below to learn more about it:

Like all my other books, it's also available on:
iBooks   |   B&N Nook   |   Kobo |   Smashwords 

Book Details

Length: 110,000 words
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Clean Romance / Diverse Romance / Interracial Romance / Romantic Drama / Women’s Fiction

Mood: Inspirational / Feel Good / Coming of Age / Dark
Content: Sexy but No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: New Adult & College / Adult / Female Readers

Recommended for: Readers that enjoy romance novels with serious issues and characters with depth. This is a story about life, love, friendship, family, music, art, destiny and soul mates.

And the first two books in my urban fantasy/paranormal romance series, the Poison Blood series, can be downloaded for free via:

Amazon USAmazon UK|   iBooks US & UK   |   B&N Nook Store   |   Smashwords

PB1 Book Details

Length: 29,000 words
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Vampire Romance / Paranormal Fantasy / Urban Fantasy / Science Fiction & Fantasy

Mood: Dark / Humorous / Coming of age
Content: No violence / No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: Teen / Young Adult / New Adult / Adult
Recommended for: Readers that love all things vampires, slayers and witches!

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