Soon to be publishing her second novelTwitcher, Cherise Saywell is fulsome in her praise of Gold Dust mentor Lesley Glaister: ‘When I applied to Gold Dust I had written a novel and was struggling to find an agent,’ says Cherise. ‘I didn’t know if my novel was any good, or if I should just put it away and start another. I was accepted in October 2009 and I found an agent in Australia at around the same time so I decided to leave the first novel alone and use the mentorship to progress with a second.
‘I liked Lesley Glaister as soon as I met her and it’s been wonderful having someone so experienced to work with. My novel was at a very early stage when I began the mentorship, and I’ve been stuck several times already – I really struggle with first drafts. But Lesley’s brilliant, always ready with suggestions and reassurance. I usually sense when something’s working, but when things go wrong can take me ages to recognise why. Lesley will tell me when she can’t ‘see’ a character I’m working on, or if the voice isn’t right. But crucially, she also has an instinct for when to simply leave it to me – the novel is still very much mine and there are some things I need to figure out through trial and error.
‘In April I signed a two book deal with Random House Australia. My first novel,Desert Fish, was published early in 2011 in their Vintage imprint, and Twitcher will be my second book.
‘I felt completely stuck when I applied to Gold Dust and it was a real step forward. Getting a publishing deal has been brilliant, but it’s a beginning, not an arrival, and I’m finding Lesley’s guidance and support invaluable. Gold Dust is for people who take their writing seriously. It’s been a brilliant investment for me, worth every penny.’