In which a year has passed and I muse on how it takes a village and all that guff

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So this time next week I shall be in Telford getting ready for my fourth RNA Conference. That realisation made me also realise that it is now 1 whole year since I signed my first ever publishing contract with Choc Lit to publish Sweet Nothing, followed later in the year with a second contact for Holly’s Christmas Kiss.

Sweet Nothing

Holly's Christmas Kiss

One year on from such great excitement seems like as good a time as any to get a bit melancholy, raise a glass of something suspiciously green-looking, and have a bit of a think about the process of getting from ‘Hey guys, I’m going to write a novel!’ to actually having a novel out there in the world, where unsuspecting strangers, some of whom aren’t even friends of your mum, might read it.

And the conclusion of that little think would be this: it takes a village to make a novel. Not an actual village. It’s not compulsory for budding novelists to move to Little Middlewitch and start helping out with the church flowers. I’m talking about one of those metaphorical villages that exist only for the purposes of slightly laboured and clichéd metaphor. The Sweet Nothing Metaphorical Village takes in many helpful souls. There are the tutors and workshop leaders whose ideas I’ve cribbed and developed. There are the critique readers. There are the supportive wine-supplying friends who tolerate the fact that most of my gossip is about made up people. There’s the actual publisher who decided to invest their time and money in my work, and then there’s the editor, copy-editor, proofreader, cover designer and blurb writer. And then once the book is out there’s the audiobook people, and the pr dudes, and the book reviewers and bloggers who’ve featured me or my books on their site.

So it’s one whole year since I signed the contract with Choc Lit to publish Sweet Nothing. It’s six years since I first decided I wanted to write a romantic comedy, and decided that I wanted to base it on what I consider to be the ultimate rom-com from stage, book or screen. And the end result is a story that owes everything to my random set of pre-occupations: love and how it’s not the same as romance, how clever people can do stupid things, how knowing stuff is brilliant, tequila is dangerous, and M&S party food is the highest form of food. All of that stuff is part of me, but none of it would be out there in a vaguely readable form without the rest of the Sweet Nothing Metaphorical Village.

So please all raise your glasses. Wait. I didn’t mention that you needed glasses, did I? Ok. Those of you who are already glass-ready, give everyone else a second to pour themselves a tiny drinkette. Right, so please raise your glasses and let’s make a toast, to everyone in the Sweet Nothing Metaphorical Village. Cheers, and thank-you all.


8 thoughts on “In which a year has passed and I muse on how it takes a village and all that guff

    Polly said:
    July 4, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Bit early for a glass, so I’m raising a cuppa to you – what a year! Here’s to the next one 🙂


    beverleyeikli said:
    July 4, 2014 at 8:24 am

    Here’s to the next fabulous year, Alison! Good luck to you!


    Margaret Kaine said:
    July 4, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Onwards and upwards Alison. A great blog. x


    Angela Britnell said:
    July 4, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Have raised a cup of tea to you all the way from Nashville – will make it gin later in the day! Here’s to many more wonderful books.


    Helen said:
    July 4, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    There’s a little village school near here that has ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ carved above their front door. I realise that’s nothing to do with your blog but you reminded me of it and I thought I’d share…

    Congrats on your first year as a ‘proper writer’ xxx


    julieheslingtonwriter said:
    July 6, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    Gosh, what a year you’ve had Alison. I remember sharing a flat with you last year and you were all giddy with excitement that you had literally just received your publishing deal. It’s been wonderful to watch your year unfold and I look forward to hearing more about it at this year’s conference.
    Best wishes
    Julie xx


    Zana said:
    July 7, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Makes you wonder what’s in store for the next year…. Raising a glass of NZ sav to you


    bernimoonhouse1620 said:
    July 15, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Congratulations on a brilliant year, Alison, and here’s to the next one 🙂 x


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