Today is my part in the Blog Tour for Walking Wounded by Anna Franklin Osbourne. Sometimes you wonder what an author’s journey to being published was like and today Anna will be telling us about her experience:
I decided to write Walking Wounded while I was walking on the beach in France talking to my kids about D-Day and realising how this is recent history and still affects so many of us through our own family stories.
I had written several short stories at that point, but had felt daunted by the idea of a novel. While we were on that beach though, my husband encouraged me so much that I really did have the makings of a novel there that I began writing it on the ferry back to England. Walking and thinking became a way of planning the way forward for it from then on in, I always love chewing an idea over as I walk, then would come home and start typing furiously.
I honestly thought I’d ‘finished my book’ in a year of typing in 10 minute blasts on the school run waiting for my kids to emerge. In fact, that’s how long it took to finish the first draft, but then it took me another, much tougher, year to edit, proof and rewrite it.
I went on a writing course just as I finished the first draft. All my friends were laughing and saying ‘but you’ve finished it,’ but it was invaluable to me and the timing was perfect because I got so much help from the wonderful Felicity Fair Thompson (author of The Kid on Slapton Beach) about structure and character development – as well as discovering that I could be a Person as well as a Mum. I was so excited to discover the course – loads I looked at were midweek, London-based and too expensive for me (and I can’t just take a week off) but this one was on the Isle of Wight, affordable and Friday evening through Sunday. I am in the New Forest so this felt very accessible and appealing. I shifted heaven-on-earth to get the school pick-up sorted, rushed off early from work, leapt onto the ferry by the skin of my teeth, and then was swamped by a tide of nervousness I hadn’t had time to experience up until that moment. I sat there thinking ‘what am I doing here, supposing I have to write something in front of someone’ and I swear I shook with fear. Felicity couldn’t have been lovelier, full of ideas and incredibly entertaining, and I also got to meet another budding writer and we all hit it off straight away, chewing our ideas over wine and wonderful food. I can highly recommend this to anyone, but I really feel it helped me embrace a Brave New Me.
My friend’s reactions were very encouraging, most of them were quite shocked when I told them it was a novel, they’d all assumed I was wiring a textbook! I didn’t show it to many though, it felt very personal and I wanted to finish it first.
I didn’t and don’t have an agent, but I’d love to be snapped up by someone! Felicity’s advice was simple – did I want it to be read? And if so, then get on with indie-publishing, but send a few drafts off to the big guns too on the basis of nothing ventured, nothing gained. It took almost a year to get from the first submission to Publication Day with Amolibros, who were helpful regarding the cover. They advised me that the first cover was too cryptic and needed more popular appeal, and I have to say, they were right! I have had so many lovely comments about the final cover, and my daughter is very proud of her first modelling assignment! I was knocked backwards with pride when I saw the first proof – but was shocked when my son got very upset that the font was ‘just wrong.’ At 13 (then about 12) he is excellent at design and a stickler for detail, and he was adamant that ‘it just doesn’t fit the era’ and sat fiddling for hours until he came up with the font it has now. I feel I have spawned two rather fabulous children!
Would I do it again? Of course! I’m working on it… I do dream that one day I’ll write a novel in the cockpit of my dream boat moored in some sunlit marina with a drink in my hand and my husband at my side… but I suspect it will be on a tiny tablet jammed on the steering wheel parked outside whichever music lesson one of my kids is in with a twenty minute deadline before screeching on to the next mummy taxi stop… plus ca change…!
Book Description from Goodreads:
Born at the end of the First World War, a young girl struggles to find her own identity in her big family and is pushed into a stormy marriage through a terrible misunderstanding from which her pride refuses to let her back down. As her own personal world begins to crumble, the foundation of the world around her is shaken as Germany once again declares war and her brothers and young husband sign up with the first wave of volunteers.
Walking Wounded tells the story of those left behind in a Blitz-ravaged London, and of the web of loyalty, guilt and duty that shapes the decisions of the women awaiting the return of their men-folk as the war draws to a close.
Spanning the period from the Armistice of the First World War to the exodus of the Ten Pound Poms to Australia in the 1950s, Walking Wounded is a family saga whose internal violence is mirrored by the world stage upon which it is set.
Walking Wounded is a short read at 156 pages, so give it a chance!
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