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Becoming a Writer by Katerina Diamond

Writing.ie | Magazine | Crime
the teacher

By Katerina Diamond

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I always loved to write poetry as a child but writing stories was not something I ever had the confidence to do. I was an avid reader and I always held storytellers in such high esteem that I never once thought I could be one. My big breakthrough in confidence came when I was doing my GCSE’s and I had been predicted a miserable grade in English. I always had a propensity to be a little dark, even as a child. I wrote an essay from the perspective of a dead body and what lead to the moments of his death. I got an A. I was called into the Deputy Head’s office and asked where I had stolen the story from. I swore blind that I really had written it myself but for the rest of the year the teacher eyed me suspiciously. Being accused of plagiarism seemed like pretty high praise to me. Maybe I could write stories well?

Then life got in the way for a few years and after my son was born I started to write again. This time I decided to write a movie: I had a great idea for one and so I started to read as much as I could about how to format a screenplay. Well, my plot was over-ambitious and I had a baby that didn’t sleep. I put that one on the backburner and thought maybe I couldn’t write a movie after all.  It didn’t last long; I started writing another movie, and two years later I finished it. I realised I wasn’t confident enough to send it anywhere and so it’s still on a CD-RW somewhere. I had another child and then I moved house. I had an online friend from Australia. We started writing collaboratively online and eventually after a ridiculous work schedule we had a thousand-page script: fifteen episodes of a TV show. We sent it to some production agencies but with both of us being total introverts we didn’t push it.

I moved house again and we had no internet for a month which sparked the beginning of my novel. I had started to tell people my dirty little secret, that I liked to write. I had ‘come out’.  I joined a local women’s writing group, mostly older ladies, and we had been tasked with writing a 30k word Novella. I had a lot of time on my hands and so I started writing a story. I finished the 30k words but it wasn’t enough: I wanted to know more, I wanted to write more about this girl and what happened to her. I started to pull in more things to my story until it started to look like it was going to be a crime thriller. It hadn’t started out that way. I love crime thrillers myself and I’m aware how well they sell. I wanted writing to be my job. I wanted my work to be commercially viable. That’s when I read a quote by Shaquille O’Neal that totally inspired me. Something clicked. “When you want to succeed as much as you want to breathe. That’s when you will be successful.” It occurred to me that I was going to write a novel.

Katerine DiamondIn the summer there was a local competition to write the opening chapter of a book. I had taken part in the competition twice before but not won. This time I already had part of a story and I wanted to write an impactful piece that might stand a chance of winning. I won the competition and that opening chapter became the opening chapter of ‘The Teacher’. The competition was to finish writing the book and then be introduced to an agent. The agent didn’t like it. I had finished the book and so I decided to just do it myself, to make it the best I could make it and then send it to an agent through a submission process.

At this point I read a massive amount of blog posts about people’s publication journeys. There seemed to be a lot of suggestion that it was all about who you know rather than your ability. The stories were so varied though that I decided it would be worth a shot. I made sure it was as grammatically accurate as I could. Punctuation is not one of my strong points and so I bought a book on that. You can probably tell I am still guessing half of the time!

I checked the submission guidelines for 15 Agencies that were accepting crime thriller submissions and I sent them a cover letter with the beginning of my story. Around 2 weeks later I heard from Diane Banks at Diane Banks Associates who was interested in reading the rest of my book so I sent it on. By the end of the week the agent asked me for a face to face; a few days later we met for lunch and then I was signed to my brilliant agent. This was almost the complete opposite of what I expected to happen! I had prepared myself for some intense and prolonged rejection.

My agent then asked me to make a few minor adjustments before she submitted to several publishers. By this point everything starts to get a little hazy. After years of writing in secret, writing alone and writing in the middle of the night, suddenly people are reading my book – professional people; people who knew what they were talking about. I’ll be the first to admit I started to freak out a little bit. After the nicest possible rejections and some negotiating I got a 2 book deal with Avon, a Harper Collins imprint. Since then it has all been so fast. It’s been ten months since I decided to take the leap and send off to an agency and now I’m a top ten Sunday Times best-selling author. Needless to say, I’m glad I stuck with it!

(c) Katerina Diamond

About The Teacher

You think you know who to trust? You think you know the difference between good and evil?

You’re wrong …

A LESSON YOU WILL NEVER FORGET

The body of the head teacher of an exclusive Devon school is found hanging from the rafters in the assembly hall.

Hours earlier he’d received a package, and only he could understand the silent message it conveyed. It meant the end.

As Exeter suffers a rising count of gruesome deaths, troubled DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles must solve the case and make their city safe again.

But as they’re drawn into a network of corruption, lies and exploitation, every step brings them closer to grim secrets hidden at the heart of their community.

And once they learn what’s motivating this killer, will they truly want to stop him?

The Teacher is in bookshops now or pick up your copy online here!

Katerina Diamond was born in Weston in the seventies. She moved to Thessaloniki in Greece and attended Greek school where she learnt Greek in just 6 months. After her parents’ divorce, they relocated to Devon. After school, and working in her uncle’s fish and chip shop, she went (briefly) to university at Derby, where she met her husband and had two children. Katerina now lives in the East Kent Coast with her husband and children. This is her first novel.

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