My Journey to Publication by Sarah Painter

April 2013

Debut author Sarah Painter, one of our first Carina UK writers, has written a post to tell all of you about her incredible journey to publication.

I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember, but it didn’t seem like the kind of thing you could, realistically, become. It was like saying you wanted to be an astronaut or a unicorn. So, I read English at university and became a magazine journalist instead. I followed a path that was close to my dream and talked about how ‘one day’ I was going to write fiction.

I’ll be honest; I was terrified. What if I tried to write fiction and found I couldn’t? The dream would be taken away from me forever.

When I was approaching thirty, I was stressed out to the max. I was freelancing, full-time mother of two, and running a business; to cap it all, I started having panic attacks.

My lovely husband saved my life (not for the first time). Every morning, he steered me gently from the chaos of our home office/dining room/nursery and upstairs to the quiet of our bedroom. ‘I can’t’, I said. ‘There’s too much to do’.

‘Just take an hour,’ he said. ‘Every day.’

And you know something? I wrote. Soon, I was writing 1000 words in each session and, six months later, I had a manuscript. It wasn’t very good and only resembled a novel in length, but I felt sane and happy again.

I spent the next four years practicing. I read everything I could find about the craft and business of writing. I developed an addiction to author blogs and books of writing advice. I got encouragement along the way (from agents, from my online writing group, from doing a masters in creative writing) but I lacked confidence. After I finished my masters, I felt very low. I’d parted company with my agent (who wasn’t the right fit, but had made me feel like a ‘real writer’) and I felt close to giving up.

Then I decided to write a book just for me. An antidote to all the serious literary fiction I’d been reading (and attempting to write). A fun book. A romantic book. A magical book. The kind of book I love to curl up with when the real world is too grey and spiky.

That’s the book that landed me my wonderful new agent. That’s the book that has brought me my dream of being a published author. That’s the book I hope you might like, too.