We hope everyone is staying safe and well in quarantine. We were lucky enough to receive a wonderful author story from Alana Parker, author of Tess of the Locks. Alana speaks today about her writing journey, how she started the publishing process and her advice to aspiring authors!
I have always thought I could write, from being quite young I believed this, although I didn’t do much about it until I became of an age where time did not slip away from me so quickly!
At school, my favourite subjects were always English Literature and Drama. I was lucky enough to have a teacher with boundless enthusiasm for his subject, and who most of all had patience with his students. Mr Harburn, or Ted as we all knew him, introduced us to Shakespeare and to the unfathomable world of poetry. Unfathomable that is to ordinary kids from a northern town, with no knowledge of the language of the poets.
I became involved in amateur dramatics and loved it, and at the same time was a voracious reader of everything dramatic, romantic or fantastical. From Thomas Hardy to JRR Tolkien; from Charles Kingsley to John Steinbeck, I read them all!
Writing myself only came to me after a sailing adventure, when the children had left home and I had taken a month off work to live the dream, with my husband Steve. Sailing To Skye became my first book, which I self-published.
Following that I began a novel, which is still a work in progress, and in the meantime, I had a headful of children’s stories centred around our dog, Tess. Once I decided to write again, it all fell in to place fairly easily and I really enjoyed the writing process. It is a book of short tales and so it wasn’t long before I was looking for a publisher. Olympia Publishers took me completely by surprise when they answered my Submission with: “Yes we’d love to publish your book Tess of the Locks!
Having had many refusals from publishers when I submitted my manuscript for my first book, it was very exciting hearing that someone else appreciated my writing. A friend of mine is a talented artist and he was delighted to be asked to do the illustrations. Having submitted those, along with the manuscript, Olympia Publishers took over the rest of the process. They sent me three cover designs, based on my original colour illustration, and I was very happy with the one I chose. I was also more than grateful for their part in the marketing and distribution, as this is an area of the process I have little knowledge of.
From then on it was an anxious wait for the hard copies to arrive in the post, and when they did it was a moment of great satisfaction to see my book come to life. I couldn’t wait to tell my friends and family!
As a new, but slightly older, writer, I was not sure that I could class myself as an “author” but having the book in my hand and being so proud of it, I really think I can now! I have made a mental note to get on with my novel and am buoyed by the small (but great to me) achievement of publishing Tess of the Locks.