In Pursuit of Happy Ever After - Melissa Oliver - This Writing Life #20
Today, I'm delighted to host a guest post from Melissa Oliver about her journey to publication. Melissa's debut novel, The Rebel Heiress and the Knight, was published in June this year. Over to you, Melissa...
In Pursuit of Happy Ever After?
My journey to publishing has been a long and winding road but then again, I wouldn’t have it any other way. That pivotal moment when it all came together was the sum of everything my life had been- up until the moment I was offered a publishing contract at the end of 2019.
As a child, I was always making up stories; whether it was writing stories, plays or role-playing. I had a furtive imagination and loved nothing better than to escape to into the wilds of make-believe. They were happy, care free days that slipped into the more uncertain, murky waters of angst and self-doubt of being a teenager. Still, I managed to navigate my way through until I had those all-important decisions to make about my future.
My love for history and the arts meant that I had difficulty choosing what I should study at university and at this point in my life I wasn’t sure whether I could be a writer. So, I went down the visual arts route with a degree in textiles (and fashion) but strangely enough these were transferable skills that would later prove invaluable for writing. To create and collate inspirational ‘mood’ boards to inform the design process is not all that different actually, from the stages within the writing process. Only, I substituted paints, fabrics, patterns and materials, to use words- creating characters, inhabiting worlds, woven within the context of a story.
A couple of years after I graduated, on that first run of the ladder, my beloved mum, who was more like my best friend, became terminally ill. Consumed with grief, I eventually gave up my design job to be her full-time carer.
This was a huge turning point in my life…
Looking back, the loss of my beautiful mum which was devastating, did later make me think about what I wanted from life.
When I became a mother myself, the writing bug which had always been there- an itch I needed to scratch, became more insistent and something I couldn’t shake off. I was a tutor in fashion and clothes-making and also made wedding dresses privately but it wasn’t what I wanted to do.
However, once again I doubted my ability to be able to write a novel so I pursued screen/ playwriting. After many inevitable rejections, a radio play that I had submitted, caught the eye of a BBC development producer. We worked on it together and got it through the submission rounds only for it to fail at the last hurdle. However, the Editor of Radio 4 asked for the play to be resubmitted, subject to certain changes, which I naturally agreed. I fleshed out the characters and tightened the story with the producer and got it through all the submission rounds only to be rejected again, right at the very end.
Dejected, I turned my sights to the one thing I had always wanted to do but had never felt confident to do - write a novel…
I wanted to embrace and merge my interest in romance and history, which I had always been passionate about- sweeping stories that transport me to another time and place. And that is exactly what I did.
After many, many years of learning, honing my craft, persevering, and not giving up, I’m now lucky enough to do just that!
~ Thank you so much, Melissa, for sharing your journey to publication. I very much look forward to reading The Rebel Heiress and the Knight.
The Rebel Heiress and the Knight
She must marry the Knight
By order of the King!
Widow Eleanor of Tallany Castle knows her people are broken by the taxes demanded by King John. So when she’s ordered to marry Hugh de Villiers, a knight loyal to the king, she’s furious – even if he is handsome! As gallant Hugh begins to heal the scars of Eleanor’s abusive first marriage, she’s even more determined to keep her secret: she is the outlaw the king wants to send to the gallows!
To purchase The Rebel Heiress and the Knight, please highlight and left-click on the links below :
Amazon U K:
U.K Mills and Boon:-
About Melissa Oliver
Melissa Oliver is from south-west London where she writes historical romance novels. She lives with her gorgeous husband and equally gorgeous daughters, who share her passion for decrepit, old castles, grand palaces and all things historical. When she's not writing she loves to travel for inspiration, paint, and visit museums & art galleries.