Fancy a mentor? I’m now open for applications via The WoMentoring Project

womentoringillo1-larger

 

I always wanted to be a writer, but never had the opportunity to go to university, and every time I read a book I loved I would Google the author, reading interviews, and often they would say they had completed a degree in creative writing, or similar courses.

Later in life, I started looking into courses, but an accident left me with a disability, my business folded, and with three children to support I wasn’t able, physically or financially, to follow my dream.

When I first heard about The WoMentoring Project, a scheme offering free mentoring to up and coming female talent who otherwise might not be in a position to progress with their writing, I was hugely excited. Looking through the list of mentors I noticed Louise Walters, and having recently read her book Mrs Sinclair’s Suitcase, which I loved, I decided to apply. I was delighted when she accepted my application, and although the mentoring only took place for a few weeks, throughout that time my writing and my confidence flourished. You can read about mine and Louise’s first meeting here, and our follow-up meeting here.

It has now been 2 1/2 years since I was mentored, and during that time I have signed a 3 book deal, published my first two novels – The Sister and The Gift – both of which reached No.1 on Amazon UK, and Canada. I have sold over 750,000 books, and my stories have been sold to over 15 territories for translation. In 2016 I was nominated for The Goodreads Debut Author of the Year Award.

I owe a huge amount to the project, in particular Louise Walters. My time with her gave me a good grounding on how to structure a novel, and how a story should flow, and I really believe if it weren’t for the opportunity, my first novel would not have been of a high enough standard to be published and I wouldn’t be where I am right now. I am eternally grateful.

I am thrilled Kerry Hudson, the founder of this amazing project, has again accepted my application, but this time I am returning as a mentor. Paying it forward is something I strongly believe in and I feel privileged to now be in a position to give back.

If you are a female writer and feel you would benefit from mentoring, you can apply to me via the project. To see if we are a good fit you can read more about what I’m looking for here, and if you are writing outside my genre there are lots of other mentors available.

 

img_0369 Featured Image -- 1632

The kindness of strangers

pay-it-forward

 

“You have two hands, one to help yourself, one to help others.”

Anyone who knows me, or reads my Happy Starfish blog, understands I get more than a teensy bit excited when I hear of pay it forward stories.

Yesterday I was a recipient of a random act of kindness which instilled such a warm and fuzzy feeling, it hasn’t worn off yet. Following my post stating my intention to want to write a novel I was touched to receive a gift of three books on novel writing, via amazon , from a fellow blogger. This was accompanied by a lovely note wishing me luck.

I don’t know this blogger (who wishes to remain anonymous), and living on the other side of the world I am unlikely to ever meet them, but am so grateful of their encouragement.

It would be easy to paint a bleak view of our world today, hate, crime and war appear to be everywhere. Many of us live in fear, stress and uncertainty, our anxieties fuelled by the media and drip fed with every bad news story circulated.  We can make a difference. We can create our own good news stories. I blogged last year about a kindness book we have in our kitchen to encourage our children to be mindful of things they can do for others, and there is always something we can do for others, however small.

Kindness is contagious – be a carrier.

pay-it-forward-2