Wow, what a whirlwind year 2022 has been. This time last year, I was logging off for my Christmas break, knowing that the next time I sat at my desk, it’d be 2022 – the year that not one but TWO of my books would be published! My year as a debut author has been an exciting time. It’s hard to pin down all the highlights, as there have been so many, but here it goes…
The year kicked off with a bang as the cover of Stone Broke Heiress was unveiled by my publisher for the very first time! I had some fantastic feedback and lovely comments on social media about it. I’d first seen the cover in December and had only shown my family and close friends, but sharing the cover with everyone that day was a massive highlight of the year and something I’ll never forget.
The last stage in the publication process for Stone Broke Heiress was proofreading the final ebook and paperback files before the book officially went into production! It’s a little bit daunting because, at that point, I’d read the book so many times (it felt like thousands!), so it can be challenging to try and remove yourself from the familiarity of the story and look at it with fresh eyes. However, sending the final files off is a wonderful feeling!
GULP. This was probably the most nerve-wracking aspect of my experience as a debut author. I felt a bit sick and couldn’t stop refreshing the site to read the reviews. Seeing my first five-star review (from someone other than my mum) was incredible and a moment I’ll never forget – thank you, lovely Emma, for your kind words! You made this author’s day/week/month/year/life.
I finished my first draft of book two in early 2022. The working title was House Rules, then it was Simply The Worst, and my publisher later decided on the final title: Stuck With Him! It was seven months previously that I sat down and started plotting the story. I wrote it while working on my edits for Stone Broke Heiress AND going through a hectic work period. It was a huge relief when I finally hit the SEND button to my editor, Emily, and I DEFINITELY deserved a glass of fizz (any excuse).
Without a doubt, 21st March 2022 was one of the best days of my year (and my life!) I had a fabulous day and was counting my lucky stars as I read through all the amazing comments and messages of support I had throughout the day! I had gorgeous presents and congratulatory cards from my family, friends and my agent and publisher. I took part in an Instagram takeover on Bookouture’s account and then had some well-deserved champagne at the end of the day!
Unfortunately, my first book launch date was postponed due to Covid. I felt absolutely rotten with it, but on the bright side, I had my Stone Broke Heiress cupcakes to cheer me up as I sipped Berocca and Lemsip in a Champagne flute.
Hurrah, I finally had my book launch at The Book Lounge in Kirkby Lonsdale on Friday, 29th April. It was a truly wonderful event with friends, family and readers. Everyone enjoyed some yummy cupcakes and fizz, and I put on my big girl pants and a brave face to do a reading (public speaking makes me nervous!) It was a real pinch-me moment when I signed paperback copies – a night I’ll never forget, and I’m so grateful for the support!
In May, I ventured to lovely Liverpool for a couple of fab PR events with my agent, Clare Coombes. I did my first-ever radio interview with Roy Basnett on Liverpool Live Radio. Then that evening, Clare, myself and fellow Liverpool Lit author Ashleigh Nugent took part in the WOW (Writing On The Wall) panel event at Chapters Of Us. It was a little nerve-wracking as it was the biggest speaking event I’ve ever done, but the audience was super welcoming, and it was a brilliant atmosphere.
Most of the behind-the-scenes side of my book deal took place during Covid, which meant I didn’t meet my editor, Emily, for a while as we did everything online. However, it was worth the wait when I finally travelled to London and met Emily and my fab publicist Jess at the gorgeous Bookouture offices on the Southbank. Seeing my book on their shelves was another ‘pinch me’ moment. Then afterwards, we enjoyed a delicious lunch at The Ivy in Covent Garden.
It was mine and Tom’s first holiday since August 2019 and just what we needed – a totally chilled time reading loads of books in the sunshine with yummy food and sangria aplenty. I worked on some book two edits, but apart from that, it was all about rest and relaxation after what had been a crazy busy start to the year!
London was calling again in July when I headed back for the Bookouture Summer Party at the BFI on the Southbank. I met my hilarious and talented pal, Catherine Walsh, for a cheeky Aperol spritz beforehand. Then we enjoyed an afternoon celebrating with fellow Bookouture authors and the team.
Publication day for my second book, Stuck With Him, came around super quickly – only four months after my debut was released! After running around like a headless chicken for my first publication day, I made a conscious effort to relax and enjoy it this time. So, my mum, husband and I took ‘pub day’ as its literal meaning and headed to the pub for some fizz and a celebratory toast to book two!
My local book shop, The Book Lounge, in Kirkby Lonsdale, stocks copies of my first and second books, so I headed over there to sign the new stock of Stuck With Him. Another ‘pinch me’ moment (2022 has been filled with ‘pinch me’ moments!!) was seeing my book on display in the window and on the shelves next to writers I’ve read my whole life. It was a very special experience.
In the autumn, I headed over to the magnificent building that is Gladstone’s Library. This place truly is every writer and reader’s idea of heaven. I stayed there with my friend and fellow author, Stephanie Sowden (her book After Everything You Did was one of my top reads of 2022). We had a fantastic time being super productive while also enjoying the lovely, laid-back atmosphere of Gladstone’s. You can view my video diary of this writing retreat on my Instagram and TikTok. I’ll definitely be heading back there in 2023!
It’s wonderful to finish my first year as a published author with my debut hitting number ONE on Amazon charts in several competitive categories. It also has more than 1,000 reviews! I’m grateful to everyone for their support – for buying my books, reading them and spreading the word about them! Every message, comment and review has been so special to me.
My next book is taking longer than expected because it’s very research-heavy, and I’m taking my time with it. It’s also really special because it’s a romantic comedy set in the Lake District – somewhere that I call home. Like Stone Broke Heiress and Stuck With Him, it also has important issues woven within the fun, games and romance. I’m looking forward to bringing the beauty of the Lakes to life through the pages (or trying to, anyway, as I’m starting to run out of ways to describe mountains and lakes…!) Fingers crossed it’ll be on book shelves near you one day.
Thank you again for following me on this journey, and well done for getting to the end of this blog which is MUCH longer than I thought it would be! Goodbye 2022 and here’s to 2023 – filled with love, health, happiness, and great books, of course!