Several years ago, I had this dream to have my own flower shop - preferably in the old barn next to the cottage where we lived, with rough wood shelves and metal buckets full of beautiful seasonal flowers, with which I’d decorate weddings for all the brides who’d flock to see me. There’d be a big sign outside so no-one would miss us. My children would run around and the chickens would potter outside. It was my idea of perfect…
It took a while but the dream came true – almost, only it was a different barn, which meant the chickens stayed at home, but inside we created our very own rustic flower shop. I’ve decorated hundreds of weddings. And I’ve loved each and every one of them.
The whole wedding madness thing kind of gets under your skin though and that’s where the idea for my book came from. I had a name for my protagonist, Frankie Valentine, and a picture in my head of her small flower shop. Just like we all do, Frankie has a dream. She wants to be a florist to the stars, only just like in real life it doesn’t go quite as she plans.
So, last year, I wrote my book. Then put it away. Read and re-read it. Wrote another draft, agonised over cover letters and synopses, like we do. Then earlier this year, I sent it off to a handful of carefully chosen agents.
Then came the waiting, but what happened this time is that over the course of one of the most magical fortnights I’ve ever lived through while I neurotically checked my emails every ten seconds, five agents asked to read the full MS.
Five. Oh, so exciting, I can’t tell you. I dared to allow myself to imagine, just for a second or two, that this time, it might actually be going to happen! Then I stopped imagining anything at all, because I have no illusions as to how hard it is to A, get an agent, then B, find a publisher.
BUT… Not one of the five loved it enough. I had an email back from Broo Doherty. A rejection, but quite a lovely one as these things go. She liked my story and told me where it was lacking – and I agreed, which is quite annoying because if I’d figured that out before submitting to her, she might have really, really liked it and my own story might have had a different ending.
But I didn’t. More work followed and now, it’s a better book. My daughter Georgie made me a cover and I published it online. So now, instead of checking emails all the time, I’m constantly looking up how many downloads!! But it is being downloaded, and people are enjoying it – it reached a very respectable number in the Amazon best-selling ebooks. Again, it’s hugely exciting!
As everyone who writes knows, there are ups and downs, snippets of hope – however small - outweigh all the disappointments and help you to somehow, find the inspiration to keep on writing.
Good luck to everyone trying to do this. I’m not giving up. Quite simply, it’s my dream and I’m hoping, like the last one I had, that if I keep working at it, one of these days it will come true…
PS this is my book:
You can find it here
And this is me: www.debbiehowells.blogspot.co.uk
Thank you Jenni, for having me on Mama J Hearts.