'It's the persistent ones who make it through. Never give up on your dreams, no matter how many knock-backs you get,' that was my good friend and brilliant crime writer Mari Hannah last year, when we met in the garden of a pub on a sun drenched summers day in Rothbury.
It was good advice and I've endeavoured to learn from every bit of feedback I've had since I started to submit my work in 2019.
Another writing pal told me recently I was lucky. 'You get more feedback than anyone I know,' she said. I was surprised. Compared to many friends, I've only submitted really to a handful of agents, but I have often had feedback, and have taken it all on board. Writing and the writing world is a never-ending learning game!
Anyhow, at the start of December, I'd had some great news. After submitting to a competition half an hour before the deadline closed, I was stunned to find my debut on the long-list for the prestigious Caledonia Novel Award for 2022. So I fired of a few agent submissions with a. renewed sense of hope.
Just after Christmas I contacted one of the agents with an update, in the hope it would spark interest. It did, and a week later we set up a zoom meeting. Within 24 hours I was signed to the brilliant Euan Thorneycroft, senior agent and director at one of London's oldest literary agencies AM Heath Ltd
In fact, the same agency, as my good friend Mari - as though it was meant to be.
I can't wait to see what this year brings, but it's got off to a flying start.