Andrea Mara

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Pinch Me

This post could also have been called “Pass the Rescue Remedy” or “Christmas is Cancelled” or more practically “I’ve Signed a Book Deal”. At this point I’m more focused on the Rescue Remedy than anything, and still wondering if I’m having a (rather long) dream.

A couple of years ago, a very lovely person called Margaret Scott commented on my Facebook page to say I should try writing a book. We chatted over and back, and I discovered that she was an author. She told me to give it a try, and I did. Because of course when someone on the internet suggests you do something, you do it, right?

I scribbled furiously for six months and then… I did pretty much nothing. I wasn’t sure about the final manuscript, and I knew it needed work. A year later, I sent it to one agent, and was told that the writing was good, but that the book crossed two genres and wouldn’t work commercially. A couple of months ago, I gave it one more try, prompted again by the wonderful Margaret Scott, and got the same feedback. But it did lead to a new idea, and a new submission, and then one Wednesday morning two weeks ago when I was sitting at my laptop working away, I was offered a book deal by Poolbeg Press.

The first thing I did was get up and boil the kettle, because obviously, tea. Then I phoned my husband, and asked him if it was real or if I was dreaming. I’ve had plenty of “I thought I was dreaming” conversations over the years – to lend drama to a story – but in this case, I truly, honestly wondered if it was a dream. For aspiring authors, book deals are the holy grail, the gold dust, the hen’s teeth, and suddenly there I was in my kitchen with one falling into my lap (top).

So I cried, made more tea, phoned my husband back to check that I definitely wasn’t dreaming, then set about starting the book.

A good few people have asked me what it’s called and what’s it’s about – so here goes – for now it’s called The Other Side of the Wall and this is the blurb:

When Sylvia looks out her bedroom window at night and sees a child face down in the pond next door, she races into her neighbour’s garden. But the pond is empty, and no-one is answering the door.

Wondering if night feeds and sleep deprivation are getting to her, she hurriedly retreats – the fact that a local child has gone missing must be preying on her mind. Then, a week later, she hears the sound of a man crying through her bedroom wall.

The man living next door, Sam, has recently moved in. His wife and children are away for the summer and he joins them at weekends. Sylvia finds him friendly and helpful, yet she becomes increasingly uneasy about him.

Then Sylvia’s little daughter wakes one night, screaming that there’s a man in her room. This is followed by a series of bizarre disturbances in the house. 

Sylvia’s husband insists it’s all in her mind, but she is certain it’s not – there’s something very wrong on the other side of the wall.

And of course, I’m petrified – I’ve never had to write so much in such a short time, and I can’t figure out how to fit Christmas into the mix, or just generally, life.

But I’m so happy – for aspiring authors, it really is the stuff dreams are made of. Pinch me.

Notebook and laptop - office mum





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