Like every other year, 2016 has been one of ups and downs. Personally, those lows looked a lot like lost direction and year where I barely wrote anything new. On the other hand, some pretty great things happened. Here are my 2016 highlights:
1. Love Elimination was published!
My first romance novel, Love Elimination, was published by Harlequin MIRA on 1 July. This was always the ultimate dream for me and my heart is full of pride, elation and gratitude when I think about it. The whole thing still doesn’t feel real. Perhaps seeing your book on the shelves will never feel normal?
Love Elimination was nominated for AusRom Today’s 2016 Book of the Year and I was nominated for Best New Author. Thanks to everyone who voted!
3. Invitations to Writers Festivals
I was invited to two writers festivals in 2016: Sydney Writers Festival and National Young Writers Festival!
Somehow, the NSW Writers Centre found me out-of-the-blue through a Google search. They were looking for someone who’d published on Wattpad and luckily, I’d written about just that on my blog. At first all I knew was that I’d be on a panel about alternative routes to publication. Then I received an email asking me to host the panel (*hyperventilates*) and the list of other panellists. That’s when it became clear I was going to meet Rosie Waterland – of Rosie Recap (Mamamia) fame – whom I read religiously and whom helped to inspire Love Elimination, which is based on a reality TV dating show. The stars aligned, she was super lovely, the panel ran smoothly and it was one of the most exciting things to happen this year.
I was also invited to speak at the National Young Writers Festivals (my favourite writers festival!) for the second year in a row. My team won our debate, ‘Self Publishing: Punk Rock or Pathetic,’ for all the tradiationally published authors in the room. Throughout the festival I had a massive grin on my face and my mind was whirring. NYWF inspires me like nothing else. I loved it.
4. Pitch to NY Literary Agent
I pitched to a New York literary agent at the Romance Writers of Australia conference this year and not only did she give me some great advice, she wants to see my next book!
5. Cool Media Stuff
I had some really great media opportunities this year. My favourites were posing for a mock version of an old-fashioned romance cover for The City and chatting to Kim Foster for podcast Your Creative Life, which was great fun!
6. Creative Writing Uni Subjects
After going part time and sticking to law topics last year, in 2016 I finished off my Creative Writing core topics. And I got HDs for each of them. A non fiction topic I was dreading turned out to be one of my all-time favourites, leading me to read some truly great work and write a personal essay that I’m super proud of (Hopefully you’ll read it soon. I’m trying to find a home for it now!).
7. Connecting to Other Writers
This year I met many more writers. I was a little braver at conferences and festivals, and some truly great people reached out to me. This is, by far, my favourite part of the writing community. They’re all fabulous people!
8. Read More
Honestly, I didn’t read very widely last year. It was all about the romances and the writing craft books. But this year, I had non fiction and prose fiction topics to force me to read works that I wouldn’t usually try. I discovered how much I love memoirs and some wonderful literary books. I read some great memoirs from Mindy Kaling, Amy Molloy and Rosie Waterland (as well as essays from The Best Australian Essays 2015) and the brilliance of Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad. I also found a new love for historical romance!
So that was my year… I can’t wait to dig into 2017. See you all on the other side!