I am beyond excited!· If you follow me on twitter (@mduffywriter), you’ll know that I’ve been bursting to make an announcement – dying to say the words that I never thought would come out of my mouth!· But before I tell you what those words are, here’s a little about my writing journey.
I’ve always been a scribbler.· From a very early age, I fell in love with books and I don’t ever remember a time when I wasn’t writing bits and pieces.· When I was about twelve, I remember thinking I’d love to be an author – to spend my days writing books and to walk into a book store and see my books on the shelves.· But, as often happens, my life took a different route and somehow I ended up working in a bank.· Even then, I was always the girl who wrote the silly poems when somebody was leaving or was asked to write a verse for somebody’s birthday.
I never stopped wanting to be an author but as time moved on and I got married and started a family, it was a dream that was firmly perched at the back of my mind.· It was only when my fourth and last child started school three years ago that I decided I was going to pursue the dream.· I took my laptop and began to write – the words, plots and characters that had built up in my mind for years spilling onto the page.
When I had the book written, I began to look online for help for writers as I really hadn’t a clue what to do next.· That’s when I came across Inkwell, an resource for writers run by Vanessa O’Loughlin.· The next phone call I made has proved to be the most valuable of my writing career.· Vanessa was an endless source of information and encouragement.· She hooked me up with Tracy Culleton who critiqued my book and the amount I learned from that was amazing.· I attended a number of the Inkwell Workshops over the following year and had my final draft critiqued by Vanessa. It was shortly after Inkwell’s Getting Published Workshop last year (2010) that I was signed up by Literary Agent, Sheila Crowley from Curtis Brown in London who had presented that day.
Both Vanessa and Sheila made me realise the importance of an online presence, so despite my computer phobia, I dipped my toe into the world of facebook, blogging and twitter. ·But it was twitter that captivated me and I quickly fell in love with the 140 character social network.· I loved the fact that I could chat to other authors and we could share advice and tips but also the fact that I could find my favourite celebrities and tweet to them.· So okay, I’m a celebrity junkie!· That’s when I had the idea of combining my love of the celebrity world with my love of writing and landed myself a slot to blog in Hellomagazine.com.· The blog,Stars in the Twitterverse, sees me interview celebrities who tweet, and I’ve been lucky to date to have interviewed some fabulous celebrities such as Eamonn Holmes, Keith Barry, Gino d’Acampo, girl band Wonderland and even the boys with the bouncy boots, Jedward!
Now if you’re still reading, you’re probably thinking will I ever get to the news bit!· It’s coming – I swear!
After a meeting with my new agent last September, I began to write my second book, Any Dream Will Do. I’m thrilled to announce that just a short eight months later, I’ve secured a two book deal with Hachette Ireland.· Now cover your ears for a moment…
Here I am (in the red jacket) with (L to R), my agent Sheila Crowley, Ciara Doorley, Editor Hachette Ireland, and Vanessa O’Loughlin from writing.ie (you’d never guess from the sign) at this year’s Inkwell Getting Published workshop, held in the Royal St. George Yacnt Club.
Any Dream Will Do will be published in November 2011 and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am.· My editor, Ciara Doorley from Hachette Ireland says: “I’m thrilled that we’re publishing Maria.· Her voice is fresh and very ‘of the moment’ and she really captures the Irish sense of humour.”
I’m still pinching myself!· In just a few short months my dream will be a reality.· I’ll be able to walk into a book store and see my book sitting proudly on the shelves.· MY BOOK!· I want to shout it from the rooftops!
But these edits won’t write themselves so I’d better get to it…!· Any Dream Will Do by Maria Duffy, coming soon to a bookstore near you! (I’ve always wanted to say that)