The news officially broke last night, but I thought I’d take some time to write about it today.
The news is that my YA LGBT novel The Other Me has found a home with Harmony Ink Press, the YA imprint of Dreamspinner Press.
Earlier this year, I was working on two science fiction novels, but I wasn’t really feeling either of them. There was this story in my heart, a story set in my home country South Africa about a girl, Treasa, who falls in love with a broken boy, Gabriel. With a shared passion for music and geeky astronomy stuff, Gabriel inadvertently helps Treasa discover her true identity.
I’ve never attempted to write a contemporary novel and yet, this idea was for a strictly non speculative fiction work. The idea thrilled and terrified me in equal measure, not least because the story I wanted to tell was an extremely personal one, inspired by many of my own high school and some university experiences. The Other Me is not autobiographical nor based on real events, it’s just that certain experiences started coming together and a story grew out of the mix.
So I started writing, opening a vein and bleeding out the words (thanks to Lisa Burstein for that fantastic metaphor). I wrote for about a month until the story was done. It dredged up a lot of my past, the good and bad, and it was one of the most cathartic experiences I’ve ever had while writing. The first draft was a mess – I’d forgotten some important things about South Africa, like the timing of school holidays and the fact that kids in SA only get to drive when they turn 18! After a quick overhaul, I had a workable draft and sent it out to family and writer friends.
The response was overwhelmingly positive. People I hadn’t expected, connected with my story and loved my characters. Bolstered by those reactions, I did another round of edits before it was ready for submission.
The following months saw my story met with some swift rejection, some positive feedback too, but ultimately more rejection. I had all but given up hope that this novel would ever find a home.
Last week, I received an email from Harmony Ink saying my original submission had got lost in the spam folder and that’s why I’d waited so long for a response. Three days later, I got an offer of publication and had to read the email two dozen times before I believed it and could breathe again.
I cannot even begin to describe how thrilled (and terrified!) I am that this story is going to be available for the world to read! Whether readers love or hate The Other Me, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I poured my heart and soul into this novel and if it resonates with just one young reader, then that will be more than enough reward for me as an author.
The Other Me is scheduled for publication later this year! Watch this space for more news and in the mean time, you can check out the novel’s Pinterest board here.
Also, Awesome News Part III coming soon…