Yesterday I was talking about the new courses I will be running this year.(I'll come back to talk about the second one - Leeds - October later) But anyone who reads this blog regularly will know that one of my favourite places for teaching a writing course is the one that's coming up at the end of February as it has done for the past few years.
At the very first Fishguard course I ever taught I met a lovely lady who has gone on to be one of my favourite students and a dear friend. Rachael Thomas started with the earliest, basic course I ran there and then she joined me on the Advanced Romance Writing Course that I organised to take the basic tuition on to another stage.
Away from the course she worked hard, writing when she could grab time as well as caring for her family, helping run the family farm. She joined the RNA's New Writers' Scheme, submitted manuscripts and learned from the critiques - she worked and worked and she didn't give in. Like so many of us - me included - she had rejections that knocked her confidence but she picked herself up and had the courage to keep on going, keep trying.
Last year she entered the huge So You Think You Can Write contest and her story - Behind The Scandalous Facade was chosen as one of that contests Top Ten - out of the huge number of entries. She didn't win first place and the publishing contract that was part of the prize - but the editor who had read her entry loved it so much that she sent revision suggestions for Rachael to work on, which she did.
And yesterday I heard the very special, wonderful news that another of my students has received The Call.
I love this moment - sharing the success of someone who has worked so hard, learned so much, had the courage to pick herself up from rejection and keep on going, keep on trying - and now has the wonderful achievement of knowing that her dream has come true. Rachael is the perfect example of how you should never give in because this story, this manuscript, might just one day be The One.
2014 is a special year for me. In December it will be 30 years since my own very first book was published. I remember only too well (even after all these years) how it felt to wake up the morning after I received the Call (though in those days it was a letter!) - the way that Rachael is feeling this morning. So I'm delighted to share this special year with her and her first book ever.
Last year at Fishguard I helped celebrate Rachael's birthday by giving her a cake in the shape of a book with her name on it - in the hope that one day that cake would become a real book. I'm so happy that this year we will be able to celebrate her wonderful success. And I'm so happy to have been able to help just a bit in getting to this special day.
Many many congratulations Rachael - I'm so happy for you. Here's to your first book - I can't wait to read it - and let's hope it's just number one of many for the future in your career as a published romance writer!
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