Monday, 18 July 2011


Blog Babies are writers who contact me to tell me of a publishing deal after (but I make no claim that it was caused by...) reading my blog. Today I am delighted to bring you Caroline Green. Did she stuggle? Did she suffer for her art? Find out!

Caroline is the author of Dark Ride and here is the blurb:

A mysterious boy. A haunting secret.
A shiver crawled up my spine. It felt like the loneliest place in the world. For a second I thought I caught a snatch of music in the air, but it was just the wind whistling through cracks in the fairground hoardings. My instincts screamed, ‘Run away, Bel! Run away and never return!’ But instead my fingers closed around the ticket in my pocket. Admit one.
Bel has never met anyone like Luka. And the day she follows him into the abandoned fairground, she is totally unprepared for the turn her life is about to take.
NM: Tell us something about your early writing history, before you successfully submitted your novel.
CG: Dark Ride is actually the third novel I’ve written. The first, an adult book in the WF genre, got some positive rejections but was really a learning exercise. It felt a bit like falling in love. I couldn’t wait to work on it and the words just poured out of me in a way that was really exhilarating. This meant, naturally, that the plot was pants! The second book was for children aged 9-12 and was written initially for my eldest son. Despite winning a prize at the Winchester Writer’s Conference, and being briefly touted by Cornerstones, it didn’t go anywhere and I know now that it had some serious flaws. I forced myself to move on and write what became Dark Ride. This time I had lots of call in from agents and lots of interest that made me feel as though I was ‘almost there’. But none of them came to anything and they all ultimately rejected me.
NM: So, you decided to stop subbing to agents and go straight to publishers. What happened then?
CG: Feeling very battered and bruised by the process by this point, I had one last ditch attempt at publication by sending it directly to a publisher, Piccadilly Press. They asked to see the whole thing, then wanted to meet to suggest some changes. I was asked to come up with a revised synopsis, replacing a storyline that wasn’t working. My editor then came with a few queries and just wanted to know in a line or two  how I would handle certain sections. I had a week of horrible limbo when I didn’t really know what was going on. Then, one afternoon, I received the best email of my life, offering me a book deal.
NM: And you now have an agent! I presume that once you had a publisher that was easy? Can you take us through how that worked? And what has your agent been able to do for you that you couldn't have done yourself?
CG: I had also written a short book for my now eight year old son that Piccadilly Press passed on. I approached a bunch of agents about this and received very fast responses when they knew I already had a deal! Catherine Pellegrino at RCW surprised me by asking if she could see Dark Ride as well. I asked my editor if it was OK and she said fine, but obviously it’s gone beyond stage of an agent having any editorial input. Catherine had initially rejected it on three chapters and remembers it coming in. She is quite honest about the fact that she wasn’t very taken with it in that instance. But when she read the whole thing, she loved it and was horrified that it had slipped through her grasp! She invited me in and we just hit it off straight away. She offered to sign me and I said yes instantly. I’ve sort of given up on the younger kids’ book for now. Has an essential structural problem and I don’t feel strongly enough about it to address at the moment. I was subsequently offered a further 2-book deal by Piccadilly and Catherine was invaluable at this stage. She negotiated the contract to the nth degree. She has also helped me to secure a contract writing a book under a pseudonym for Working Partners.
NM: You'd been reading my blog for a while before you were picked up - what do you remember learning?
CG: I vividly remember you once writing about how many rejections you’d had and how you’d got where you are the hard way. It helped to bolster my desire not to give up, however battered I felt.
NM: You said, "Dark Ride has just come out and the whole thing is a total and utter dream come true." Go on, tell us about the dream! Tell us what it feels like!
CG: Being published feels incredible. It’s better than I imagined. Standing at my launch party, surrounded by family friends, publisher and agent was one of the best evenings of my life. I’ll never forget telling my husband and family about the book deals, especially dancing around the room to very loud music [Blink 182!] with my youngest when we were alone here and the first email came in. Just last night a friend’s daughter ran up and breathlessly told me she’s loved Dark Ride, all eyes shining. You really can’t put a price on how that feels.
NM: Has anything surprised you about being published? What do wish you'd known before? Anything you could have prepared for better?
CG: I’m not sure...I think I’d been around the houses so long and been part of online writing communities where other writers have had both good and bad experiences galore, that I was actually quite well prepared for how it feels. If anything is surprising, it’s just how brilliant it DOES feel. More so than I even imagined. I guess I could add that I perhaps thought that if I made it over that mountain, subsequent books would be easier to write. And I’m finding that’s not the case at all!
Hooray for blog babies! Good luck, Caroline and thanks for letting me know of your news!


Cat Dean said...

Well done Caroline – very heartening to read, especially with so many doom-mongerers (sp?) out there!

And great pitch, by the way...

JO said...

Well done, Caroline. And thanks for the interview, Nicola - it's great to hear how others struggle for success and get there eventually.

catdownunder said...

Congratulations Caroline - very encouraging for the rest of us!
Thanks for taking the time to do this Nicola!

Sally Zigmond said...

What an inspiring interview. Reading about someone else's experiences, both good and bad helps me feel less alone as I plod the switchback journey. Congratulations, Caroline. You are an inspiration. And the book itself sounds irresistible.

JoMacdonald said...

This was absolutely lovely to read. Congratulations Caroline!

Caroline Green said...

Thanks so much everyone for your comments. And thank you Nicola for inviting me over! x

Debs Riccio said...

Caroline, you've made me feel less alone, bless you x