It’s been all go over here at LadyNicci HQ. One minute you’re changing nappies, roaring at your kids to stop weeing on things and wondering if you could slip unnoticed into an airport queue back to France, and the next you’re signing book deals, having meetings about arts and culture and reviewing your blog because it’s under scrutiny for the Irish Blog Awards.
Let’s go over that again shall we?
Yes my news that I alluded to in my last post is that I have been offered and signed a three book deal with Irish publisher Poolbeg Press.
I’m delighted. I got the news through in August and I’ve been sitting on it, while we sorted out the contract. The submission process this time has been almost pain free, compared to the agony on book one. We had interest as soon as we sent the book out and even though it took a few weeks for the offer to come through from Poolbeg, I’d been quietly confident that the book would be signed. (That’s not to say there weren’t a few hairy moments along the way, there were, believe me, even tears!)
What a difference having a book already published makes. I’ve learned so much in the year since December Girl came out and I knew what to expect when my literary agent started her work on book two. With book two, I spent a lot of time working on the hook and the logline (how you’d describe the book in ten seconds), and I found the whole novel so much easier to write. I really enjoyed the process too and I hope readers will see a progression in my writing. We’ll see!
The first book with Poolbeg will be released in late June 2019, entitled The Nanny at No. 43. It’s a standalone story, set in Drogheda in 1880 and was inspired by an advert I saw in the Drogheda Conservative, a newspaper of the time – which I wrote about here a full three years ago. Eeeeeeek. Here’s the current logline, and I’m pretty excited to work on it with Poolbeg and release it to the world next year.
Wanted, a respectable woman to care for a motherless child. Widower William D. Thomas gets more than he bargained for when a mysterious woman responds to an advert to care for his newborn baby in Drogheda, 1880. As the bodies of twin babies are discovered buried in a back garden in Dublin, a woman hunt begins for one of Ireland’s most poisonous child killers.
A major thank you to my lovely agent Tracy Brennan for representing me – you can view the other writers she works with here.
Back in March, I took part in an International Women’s Day event in Droichead Arts Centre where we spoke about women who had inspired our personal and creative lives. I decided to present mine in a spoken word style and while I found it tough, both to write and perform, I enjoyed the challenge of it and the ‘modernity’ of it – spoken word to me feels very fresh, very of its time and the antithesis to the stuffiness that we can sometimes associate with poetry. After the event Droichead Arts Centre Director Collette Farrell asked me if I’d be interested in doing a spoken word support slot in the winter and my immediate response was NO WAY. I thought, it’s not for me, I’ve tried it and it’s done now. Since then however, an idea for a spoken word piece kept slipping into my mind and sometimes when those niggly ideas won’t go away, you have to follow them. So, I got in touch with Collette and the outcome is that I will supporting renowned spoken word Artist Stephen James Smith on Thursday 22 November at the arts centre.
The nerves already!
The piece I’m working on is called – Romeo and Juliet; a love story and is based on Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 cult movie – which blew our little minds when we first saw it. I’ll be presenting a mix of spoken word, song and acapello and, if I get my techy bits right, using film too. It’s a massive challenge for me, but sometimes, to be creative, you have to get out of your comfort zone and that’s what I’m doing. I would love any local support on the night, so if you fancy it, tickets are on sale here at only €12.
The Westcourt Hotel offer a pre-theatre meal, so maybe it could be nice night out. I believe there is prosecco involved!
In the video above, you can see a few minutes of the piece I did for International Women’s Day. I’ve never shared the video before as I was too shy, but sure look it, here it is and I’m all about doing things that scare you these days.
Irish Blog Awards
A few years back, when I first started blogging, I had aims to enter blogging awards and win them. At the time, I saw them as the ultimate judgement of your skill, a prize for all the hard work you put in, a recognition of the content you spend hours on crafting for free. As the years have passed (LadyNicci is five years old now) the allure of awards ceremonies became less and less, particularly as I dived into writing novels and progressing myself there. I spoke about giving up the blog back in May and I regularly go through phases of wondering should I just close it all down anyway. And then you get news that you are shortlisted for the Irish Blog Awards and a few weeks later, that you’ve made the finals in TWO categories. (Books and Literature and Lifestyle) This is the furthest I’ve ever gotten in any award and it all crept up on me, while I was away thinking, WHAT IS THE POINT ANYWAY?!
The real point I wanted to make though, is that while it is really very lovely to be selected as a finalist for anything (particularly lifestyle blogs – do you know how many of them exist?!) the real rewards are in having people read your material, comment on them, or mention to you in passing that they like what you write. There are a lot of other things I like about blogging too – the gathering of your thoughts, finding out things about yourself that you didn’t even know until you write them down, the record keeping of our family, of our children, of my mindset at different points in my life. The community I’ve met and the friends I’ve made, have made a real impact on my life too and I speak to some blogger friends more than real-life friends! So regardless of the awards, I’m already rewarded. I wanted to say that. I still love it, even if I get a tired sometimes. (Of everything!) I’m looking forward to attending the Blog Awards at the end of October – watch the feed for photos : )
So those are my three bits of writing related news – novels, performance poetry and blogs. Sure I’ll be back to writing plays and submitting TV scripts soon. I’ll give anything a go once!
Seriously though, I am very excited by everything that is happening right now – I feel like the path to being a writer is opening up more and more and months after finishing work and having got through a summer of scraping by, I finally feel like things, creatively, are starting to come together.
None of it of course, would be possible without the support of himself at home and he is also doing some very interesting things with his music for advertising and TV. So, if you are a creative or know anyone that needs music for their project or business, give him a shout at www.ronanmcquillan.com
Throw a writer a crust, eh?
Joking. Sure the kids just loooooove beans and toast.
And so do I.
My debut novel December Girls is available to buy here.