Some terrific news this month of book deals and short-listings for our Gold Dust graduates.
Five of Jill Dawson’s mentees have had good news this month. Sarah Duguid, mentored by Jill Dawson in 2010, has become a published novelist. Her novel Look at Me (previously called The Visitor) will be published by Tinder Press in 2016. Sarah says of writing the novel; ‘it was a long road but I got there in the end!’ Rory Dunlop, mentored by Jill in 2012, has had his novel What We (Didn’t) Say accepted for publication by Twenty7 and emailed Jill to say: ‘Thanks very much for all your help. I would never have got anywhere near a book deal without your guidance.’ Our congratulations to both debut authors.
Another of Jill’s writers, Avril Lapin, has been long-listed for the Bridport Prize for Novels. Avril writes:
‘I am working on the second draft of my novel ‘Searching for Elizabeth Loaming’ and Jill suggested I entered it for the Bridport Prize. This would never have occurred to me. I did not think I would stand a chance, but I sent off the required first five thousand words and was delighted to be long listed. I am now almost at the end of my year of being mentored by Jill, during which I have finished my second draft and I think it will soon be time for me to take a deep breath and approach agents. I will miss my meetings will Jill. Each month I look forward to them. She is a very perceptive reader and her encouragement and support has focused my mind on my writing, raised the quality of what I write and given me the confidence to persist. I am so glad I decided to be mentored by Gold Dust.’
Yet another of Jill’s ‘mentees’ has a prize placing. A.Y. Chao, based in Hong Kong, and using Skype mentoring, A.Y. Chao’s first novel Soul-Thrall was written under the mentorship of Jill and placed second in the Urban Fantasy category of the RWA Fantasy Futuristic and Paranormal “On the Far Side”contest.
A.Y. says of her mentoring with Gold Dust: “Without Jill, I wouldn’t have even thought of entering contests, let alone complete a 100K word novel. Regular Skype meetings with Jill gave me the little push I needed to get writing and her seasoned advice gave me the confidence to keep writing.”
And lastly, a student Jill taught at University of East Anglia, over ten years ago, Emma Sweeney, writes to say she has a book deal. ‘I wanted you to be one of the first to know. Your continuing encouragement and belief has meant so much to me during this long slog.’ Emma Sweeney’s novel will be published in 2016. More details soon!
Guinevere Glasfurd-Brown, mentored by Louise Doughty, is publishing her novel, The Words in My Hand. It will be published by Two Roads in January 2016 (Two Roads is an imprint of John Murray Press). Rights sold separately to Ullstein Buchverlage in a major deal, and the novel was published by them in translation on August 7th this year. Rights have since sold in the Netherlands, Spain and France, and an edition is being published in Australia and New Zealand too.
Guinevere says of her mentoring with Gold Dust: ‘I remember meeting Louise for the first time — I was a bundle of nerves and felt my work had no merit. Louise read the first draft and was hugely encouraging. No first draft is perfect, I realise now and Louise gave me the confidence to carry on and has been unstinting in her support ever since.’
Joyce Gould, mentored by Sally Cline, has had her memoir of a life in politics (provisionally called Witchfinder General) accepted for publication by Backbite in January 2016. She writes: ‘Sally made me realise that I was capable of writing my memoirs even when at times I wanted to give up, and as time went on I felt more confident to continue, thanks to her patience and understanding’.
Louisa Carter, mentored by Jill Dawson, has had her novel, The Table Laid Bare, shortlisted for the 2015 Yeovil Literary Prize. An earlier draft was longlisted for the Mslexia Women’s Novel Award in 2013.
Louisa says of her Gold Dust mentoring: “Jill gave me the confidence I needed to keep going with my novel, as well as practical tools that massively improved my writing – cliches were flagged up, my plot tightened and my characters interrogated! Her constructive critiquing, together with regular deadlines, helped me turn a rough, unfinished story into a strong first draft. Jill was honest, encouraging and generous, both with her writing and her industry knowledge.”