This week I thought I’d give you a bit more detail about my novel Lottie’s Locket, especially since on Monday 20th I signed a contract with Olympia for them to publish it – rather exciting!
Lottie’s Locket is a fantasy/murder mystery for a Middle Grade (MG) audience. MG, broadly speaking, is in between children’s fiction and Young Adult fiction (12-17). I think it will be on the upper end of MG, so my ideal audience would be 10-12 year olds.
Here’s a blurb for a flavour of the novel:
Lottie is a ten-year-old girl who must go and stay with her Aunt Susan. Lottie hates the idea of staying at her aunt’s creepy old barn, especially because it means her parents missing her eleventh birthday. Lottie does however get a present from her mother – a beautiful and mysterious gold locket. The next thing she knows, Lottie is transported to the magical ream of Orovand, otherwise known as the Gold Dimension.
Lottie enjoys her new adventure in Orovand, but the morning after an important ceremony, Lottie’s locket has been stolen. Not only that, but someone in the palace has been murdered! Could the thief and the murderer be working together, or could they even be the same person? Believing the two events are connected, Lottie and her new friends try to solve the case. Can Lottie discover the murderer and get her locket back, in time to go back home?
Lottie’s Locket began in mid-October 2018. I’d heard about this online event, NaNoWriMo, through making writing contacts on Twitter. You’ve probably heard about Nano a few times now, but if you haven’t, NaNoWriMo is a global competition that takes place every November. Every participant starts with a brand-new story idea and the aim is to write 1,667 words a day. By the end of the month, you’ll have written a 50K novel.
I really liked the idea of writing a novel in a month, so it was in mid-October that I began to wonder what I would write about. As with most of my ideas, I’m not really sure where it came from! I liked the idea of writing a new genre and I thought trying fantasy might be fun. One genre didn’t seem enough, though, so I decided to mash in a murder mystery element to the story as well.
Through the rest of the month in October, affectionately known by participants as ‘Nano prep’ I plotted the story and the ideas of what this fantasy world could look like, including fantasy names for characters and places.
I then used Camp NaNoWriMo last April (a more flexible version of the November event, where writers can choose to work on existing projects to their own individual goals) to do my first round of edits on the project.
Lottie’s Locket was then mostly left alone, apart from a few times during the rest of the year to do a bit of further editing. In the meantime, I’d been working on the first round of edits of my third historical fiction novel, as well as participating in Camp NaNoWriMo in July and the main Nano event in November. When Nano finished I realised I was still quite far away from getting close to submitting my third historical fiction novel, so I emailed my publishers to see if they’d be interested in me submitting Lottie’s Locket.
They said they would be interested, so then in early December I did a final round of editing and proofreading before submitting Lottie’s Locket to Olympia. Then, on the 16th January, I got the email from the publishers saying they wanted to publish and inviting me to look at the contract!
The process of publication takes a while, so I know it will be a bit of a wait – but obviously I’d much rather my publishers take their time to do an excellent job as they have done with my two historical fiction novels. It will involve them doing more editing and proofreading and amending, designing the front cover as well as preparing the book for marketing. I estimate Lottie’s Locket may be ready late 2020 or early 2021, but I’ll keep you updated if I hear anything!
In the meantime, I’ll be continuing to work on my third historical fiction novel and working on a new mystery thriller project.
Till next time,