I'm returning to my blog after a couple of days furiously tapping away at my laptop, writing several thousand words to meet a tight deadline. It's been tiring but worth the effort in the end and of course I had my cats to keep me company through it all. Writing is a craft I have always enjoyed, right from a young age. I wrote my first book when I was barely ten years old and presented it proudly to my younger brothers to read. I probably still have it in the house somewhere.
It is a tremendous feeling you get when someone tells you how much they have loved your book and a moment that will stay with me forever is when, earlier this year, I saw my name and the title of my book, The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady in the list of short-listed entries in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. It was the first time I had entered the competition and having been a bundle of nerves as I checked the second round list first thing that morning, I was overwhelmed with delight.
The stakes raised, I counted down the days until the quarter finalists were announced and I couldn't help but get a little emotional as I again saw The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady on the list. It felt tremendous. Out of 10,000 submissions worldwide I had made it to the top 100 in my category! The top 95%
It was also a nerve racking time too. Amazon released the first chapter for anyone to download and review and despite my achievements so far, I felt anxious about what lay ahead. In the end I needn't have worried. Before I knew it I began receiving 5 star ratings and praising reviews from readers on the other side of the world. I can't imagine I am the only writer who struggles sometimes with confidence in their work but everything about that competition boosted my optimism and motivation. I watched with a smile as my book climbed ever higher in the charts until it was sitting at the top of the results when you typed ABNA 2014 into Amazon. I may not have won the ultimate prize but what I won was confidence. It proved that people all over the world liked my book and wanted to read more and then of course there was the review from Publisher's Weekly who said, 'The prose is solid...it contains some striking images.'
The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award was certainly a roller-coaster ride of emotions for me. Will I enter again? You bet!