My route to publication was – to quote every contestant X-Factor has ever had – a bit of a roller-coaster… And a lifelong roller-coaster at that… I’d always enjoyed writing stories and making things up, and I had my first short story published when I was 14 (in a teenage magazine – remember them?). I wrote about Tony from the chip shop who I was madly in love with and who ignored me and went out with my best friend instead. I poured every bit of teenage heartbroken angst into that story I can tell you! I sent it to the magazine without ever thinking it’d be published – but they loved it, bought it and paid what was a fortune to me then, and it opened up a nice little niche for me – and I carried on writing short stories, serials, articles (I became the pop correspondent for “Jackie” – was the envy of all my friends!), and anything else they’d pay me for (!) for the teenage mags while I was still at school, and then did the same for the women’s magazines for years. It was my hobby – and I was earning enough pocket money from it to have a couple of nice holidays each year – and that was about as far as I ever imagined my writing career was going.
Then 19 years ago I joined the Romantic Novelists Association, and wrote a novella (30,000 words – the longest thing I’d ever written) – DANCING IN THE MOONLIGHT – as part of their New Writers Award Scheme. I thought it was perfect for Mills&Boon – sadly, Mills&Boon didn’t. However, once I’d stopped crying I sent it to My Weekly Story Library, bless them – they said it was right up their street, bought it, and it won the RNA’s New Writers Scheme Award that year. And that’s where the next bit of my writing life took off… From a lifetime of writing short stories I took the plunge into longer fiction…
Thanks to winning the NWS award, I gained an agent, wrote my first full-length romantic comedy – GOING THE DISTANCE – again, never thought it would sell – but Orion snapped it up, it won the WH Fresh Talent Award – and since then I’ve written a rom-com novel a year, every year… I’ve sold film and telly rights (not that anything ever happened – that seems to be par for the course – sob!), been short-listed for several awards, won some of them, and have enjoyed – and still am – every single minute of it.
So, my first step into writing was because Tony from the chip shop didn’t fancy me – and I’ll always be eternally grateful to him for that – now….
Chistina is the author of An Enormously English Monsoon Wedding, Never Can Say Goodbye and Ticked Pink. For more information about Christina and her novels, visit her website: http://www.christinajones.co.uk/
Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.