I’m delighted to be part of the Love Them and Leave Them blog tour. Today I have a guest post by Sue Shepherd and Love Them and Leave Them is available to buy Here
Road to Publication
My first published novel was ‘Doesn’t everyone Have a Secret?’ It’s a Romantic Comedy about three very different people, each with a secret, whose lives collide in unexpected ways. As well as seeing things from the point of view of the people, the reader is also told the story by a set of Guardian Angels, who are assigned to watch over the people. It’s very much a tongue in cheek look at the work of angels.
I first had the idea for the book when I was attending creative writing classes many years ago. It was the first time I’d ever attempted a novel. I’d say it took me about seven years to complete the first draft. This was because I had small sons back then and a series of jobs, and I found that the book was always the first thing to be set aside when things got busy. Once it was finished, I asked my Creative Writing teacher (the author, Sophie King) to recommend a publisher. She suggested I try Ian Skillicorn at Corazon Books (http://www.greatstorieswithheart.com/) . I sent him the synopsis and the first three chapters and he asked to see the complete novel. We then met up and he said he liked the book and offered me a contract to publish it as an ebook (if I was prepared to make a few changes!) Now, this was the point where I could’ve said that I didn’t want to change a word of it, but even at that very first meeting Ian talked about my characters as if they were real people. He seemed as excited about the book as I was, and I just knew I needed to allow myself to be guided by him.
I naively assumed that he probably published most of the novels that were sent to him, but he soon informed me that was not the case at all. I always feel like I’m bragging when I say that the very first person I sent my first novel to, agreed to publish me, but I’m really not trying to sound smug. I think it was just a case of right time, right person. Ian saw something in my writing that he liked, and I was totally willing to be lead in the right direction. He is a very good editor and every suggestion he’s made regarding changes to ‘Doesn’t Everyone Have a Secret?’, ‘Love Them and Leave Them’ and my third novel (which I’m currently working on), has been a good one. He just has an eye for spotting where I need to elaborate and where I need to look at things from a slightly different angle.
I think it took us a year to get my first novel ready for publication. The finished product was so much stronger than the first draft I originally sent to Ian, and yet every word was written by me – clever how he did that, huh?
The covers of both my books were designed by Corazon Books. I had the opportunity to say if I wasn’t happy with either of them, but fortunately I loved them. Again, they were not what I had expected, but I allowed myself to be guided by someone more experienced.
If I could do it all again I wouldn’t change a thing. Ian is my editor and my publisher. He’s tough on me when he needs to be, but he always manages to get the best out of me. I’m incredibly proud of my two published novels and I know he is too.
My advice to anyone who is looking to get their first book published is to try not to be too precious about it. Yes, it’s your story. Yes, they’re your characters. But if someone who you feel you can trust is offering advice that involves making changes, it really is worth considering that they may be right. I’m not saying change your RomCom into a Horror or something daft like that, but be prepared to be flexible if you want to see your book baby in print.
‘Doesn’t Everyone Have a Secret?’ reached number 7 in the overall Kindle Chart. It also reached number 1 in three separate categories. It went on to be available as a print on demand paperback eight months after the ebook was published. It currently has over 100 5* reviews on Amazon. Not bad for an idea that came out of a piece of flash fiction.
Love Them and Leave Them by Sue Shepherd
Love Them and Leave Them: Sometimes you have to leave the one you love … sometimes you’re the one who’s left behind. The new heart-warming and heart-breaking romantic comedy from the No.1 bestselling author of Doesn’t Everyone Have a Secret?
On his way home, Ed makes a split-second decision that changes the lives of all those who love him.
Six years on, Ed’s daughter, Jessie, is stuck in a job with no prospects, her dreams never fulfilled. It will take more than her unreliable boyfriend, Chris, and temperamental best friend, Coco, to give her the confidence to get her life back on track.
But what if Ed had made another decision? It could all have been so different …
Six years on, Ed’s daughter, Jessica, has a successful career, loving boyfriend, Nick, and a keen eye on her dream home. But when new clients, a temperamental Coco, and her unreliable boyfriend, Chris, walk into her life, Jessica’s perfect world soon starts to unravel.
Love Them and Leave Them is a story of love, families, friendship and a world of possibilities. Whichever decision Ed makes, the same people are destined to come into his daughter’s life, sometimes in delightfully different ways. And before they can look forward to the future, they will all have to deal with the mistakes of the past.
Sue Shepherd writes contemporary romance and enjoys creating novels with heart, laughs and naughtiness. She doesn’t pull any punches when choosing her subjects, but manages to handle her characters’ challenging situations with sensitivity and humour. Her debut novel, Doesn’t Everyone Have a Secret? was published by Corazon Books in March 2015. It reached the top 10 UK Kindle chart, and also topped the romantic comedy, contemporary romance and humour charts. It became available in paperback on Amazon in November 2015.
Sue’s second novel, Love Them and Leave Them, was published in September 2016.
Sue lives on the picturesque Isle of Wight with her husband, two sons and a standard poodle. Her passions in life are: her family, writing, the sea-side and all the beautiful purple things her sons have bought her over the years. Ask Sue to plan too far in advance and you’ll give her the heebie-jeebies and she’d prefer you not to mention Christmas until at least November!