Liz Harris

Liz was our guest back in 2011…

On The Road To…?

hali-t.pngMy name is Elizabeth Harris, but I’m usually known as Liz. I’m a writer; but I Wannabe a Published Writer, and that’s where I hope my road is leading. You can find me on Twitter as @lizharrisauthor.

This is my journey so far (you might need a coffee/wine before you get to the end of it!).

No. 1: Starring the Bride. Aimed at HMB. Apparently, you can’t start an HMB with an attempted rape, even if it’s not by the hero. Sooooo …

No. 2: Italian Dream. Again aimed at HMB. Was told after six months that it fell between two lines and was given much advice about fitting it into the right line, but I didn’t pursue this as I’d started to write my first mainstream novel, and I loved the freedom from guidelines. Sooooo …

No. 3: Child on a Swing. First full-length contemporary novel. It has a dark theme. An agent read the whole book, loved it and phoned some publishers, who confirmed what she’d told me; namely, a book with such a theme would never sell if the author wasn’t already published.

Libraries can’t get sufficient Penny Vincenzi type sagas, my librarian told me; the public love them. Sooooo …

No. 4: Tearing Apart. I finished my PV-style story about four girls in London and sent it off to a few agents. The market is dead for such sagas, I was told in reply. Such books can now only be sold if written by an already published author, was the refrain. An unpubbed author had to have something original about their book in order to get it accepted. So, whilst I was waiting for a bolt of originality to strike, …

No. 5: Evie on the Job. A light rom-com – a reworking of the earlier Italian Dream, written with Little Black Dress in mind. Just as I’d finished it, LBD folded, and I was stuck for alternative outlets for light rom-coms. But that bolt had struck! So …

No. 6: The Road Back. A split-era novel spanning two continents, aimed at the quality commercial fiction market. The book got through the second read of the RNA‘s New Writers’ Scheme, and is now out with a publisher and a couple of agents. I’m not holding my breath, though; I’ve been here before.

Whilst running the RNA’s Romantic Novel of the Year Award last year, and thus unable to work on a new full-length novel, I decided to write something shorter, so …

Nos. 7 & 8: Californian Dream and Dark Deception. Two novellas. The first came close to being accepted, and the second is now with My Weekly Pocket Novels – the editor of which wrote and asked me to submit something at the new length, and I did.

Well, that’s me and my writing life to date.

But before I sign off, I want to point to two mistakes that I think I’ve made in my writing career.

Firstly, when I started writing, I didn’t realise the importance of staying within one genre. My novels don’t have sufficient in common with each other to make them possible follows-on to each other, should I be accepted for publication. I now, therefore, have to write a book that could follow The Road Back, just in case …

Secondly; when I finished each book, I sent it out to about five agents, and started on a new book while I waited to hear back. When the replies eventually came, I was by then immersed in the new book and didn’t bother to send the completed book to anyone else. Big mistake. If it’s not out there, being read by agents/publishers, it can’t sell. I’m now working on a new full-length mainstream, and I can see that I’m falling into the same trap again.

Well, that really is it. I wonder where my road will end.

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