A Writer’s Journey

July 28, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Andrea GriggToday my guest blogger is Andrea Grigg.  Andrea grew up in Auckland, New Zealand, but has lived more than half her life in Australia.  She loves words, finding out what makes people tick, and romance. Her debut novel, A Simple Mistake, is a contemporary romance, and was a finalist in the Caleb Awards 2012. Her second novel, Too Pretty, will be released August 1. She is giving away a copy of Too Pretty to a commenter on this blog. Leave a comment below and you will enter the draw to win. Too pretty

Hi everyone.

Before I start sharing part of my writing journey, let me say a big thank you to Lynne for having me as her guest today. I consider it a privilege to be asked.

Even though I wrote loads of stories as a child, I never thought I’d be a published author. Music was always my thing, so when I got bitten by the writing bug, no one was more surprised than me! Here’s how it happened …

Back in 2005, my friend’s son was a drummer in a high school band. Amazingly, after a relatively short time, the band got picked up by Virgin/EMI Records Australia and went international. They also won an ARIA!

And that’s where the idea came from for my first book, A Simple Mistake. What might happen to a young man if he shot to stardom in a short space of time? What if he had a steady girlfriend and he had to leave her behind?

Now, before I go any further, it needs to be said that the Nick in my story bears little resemblance to my friend’s son, other than his age at the time of his initial success. He was simply a catalyst, for which I’m very grateful!

Anyhow, this idea simmered and bubbled around in my head for quite a while. And the longer it ‘cooked’ the keener I became to give it a try. So one afternoon, around the end of February 2008, I put fingers to keyboard.

I remember typing that all-important ‘Chapter One’ at the top of the page and thinking, ‘I wonder how far I’ll get.’ By the time I’d finished those first few pages, I was hooked!

No one could have prepared me for the thrill of having my characters take over. I’d be writing dialogue and my brain would want to write one thing, but my fingers would type another because that’s what Lainey or Nick would have actually said. I sometimes laughed out loud, felt sick when they were in the middle of relationship woes, even had tears rolling down my cheeks a couple of times. Addictive, to say the least!

It took me sixteen months to write the first draft. I was teaching full time back then and I used to come home, cook dinner for my family and then scuttle upstairs to my cave for a couple of hours before bed.

Once I’d finished, I had no idea what to do. I searched on the internet for a Christian writing group and came across Omega Writers in Brisbane. Anne Hamilton read my first three chapters, told me I could write – I can’t describe how it felt to hear those words from someone who knew what they were talking about! – and then introduced me to Rochelle Manners of Even Before Publishing.

simple mistakeRochelle suggested I apply for a mentorship week to be held on the Sunshine Coast and it was the best thing ever. I was assigned to the wonderful Mary Hawkins, and she was a tremendous mentor. We worked so hard on that manuscript, cutting words, rearranging, brainstorming … I loved it.

I submitted my manuscript to Rochelle in the first week of January 2011 and signed a contract a month later. After months of rewrites and edits, I came home from a particularly hard day at work to find a package on my doorstep. Holding my novel in my hands for the first time was a wonderful feeling!

Everyone’s journey is different, and this one just happens to be mine. I hope I’ve inspired some of you to keep going, keep trying, and of course, keep writing!


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