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SPOTLIGHT: The story behind how I first got published

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Today (1 June 2017) marks twenty  years since my first novel was published!

The book was called DRAGONCLAW, and it was the first in the series of heroic fantasy novels called THE WITCHES OF EILEANAN.  


Here is the story of how THE WITCHES OF EILEANAN came to be published:

I’ve always wanted to be a writer – it’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to be.

A novel I wrote when I was 15

All through my childhood I wrote many poems and novels, and sent out my first manuscript when I was sixteen – it was handwritten, in my very childish handwriting, on loose foolscap pages. I didn’t know any better! Well, I didn’t have a typewriter and computers were barely invented. It was rejected, of course, but came back with a lovely letter saying that I clearly had talent and must keep writing.

So I did. I laboured over a magic realism novel all though my early 20s, while working as a journalist, and began to have poems and stories published. I sent out my novel a few times, and it was almost published three times, but fell through every time, much to my despair.

Me in my 20s

At the age of 25 I had a quarter-life crisis. I decided to give myself five years, to pour all my energy into getting a book published, but that I’d have to reassess my life if I couldn’t get published by the age of 30.

I quit my job as a journalist and began freelancing to support myself, and I applied to do my Masters of Arts in Writing, using the magic realism novel I had been working on as my thesis.

I began writing the first draft of Dragonclaw while I was studying for my first year exams, probably in reaction to the “fictive discourses” we were told to construct in our writing classes. About 50,000 words into the first draft, I sent off a few sample chapters to Gaby Naher at Hickson Associates.

She came back the next day, saying she loved it, and when could I get her a complete manuscript? I wrote madly for the next few months (practically ignoring my studies and work commitments).

I finished the first draft, she put it up for auction, and I signed with Random House by the end of the month. This made me particularly happy, since it was two days before my 30th birthday.  

I made my deadline by a whisker!

Dragonclaw has gone on to be sold in the US, Germany, Russia, and Japan, and I have been a full-time writer ever since.


 Dragonclaw changed my life forever!

Amelia Loken commented on 10-May-2013 01:24 PM
Thank you so much for sharing! And I loved the picture of the original story! Several friends of mine had books like these they wrote in high school and we shared during Algebra II. :)
Agnes commented on 02-Jun-2015 05:27 PM
It is wonderful to hear authors' background with their writing. It is very inspirational to young writers. Thanks for sharing. Plus, I loved your picture.
Elise McCune commented on 03-Jun-2015 04:25 PM
Thanks for sharing how you came to be published.
Do you write everyday?

Thanks, Elise
Charity and Isabeau Schenck commented on 03-Jun-2015 11:27 PM
Beyond words I am grateful for the wonderful literature you have given the world The Witches of Eileanan has been my favorite series to read since I picked up the first novel 10 years ago. I loved the characters and world so much that I chose to name my daughter Isabeau after my favorite heroine. Isabeau has asked me several times how I chose her name in her short 7 year life, now she insists on meeting the woman who gave her her name. She is my light and if it wasn't for Kate's amazing talent with words, she might have been named Suzanne, I like Isabeau better.
Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story with us Kate!
Barbara E. Evans commented on 07-Jun-2015 06:52 PM
Thank you so much for sharing the honesty of your journey and struggles Kate. As a 'senior lady' I have found it inpirational, and it confirms my commitment to assist with the editing of an Anthology titled WOW-Women of Words - expected to be completed and published in Bendigo later this year. Meanwhile, my own work 'sits teasingly on hold' as I snatch precious hours here and there preparing works for a Christian Writer's Conference at Bachhus Marsh (Vic) late October.

Warmest regards, Barbara E. Evans (Barb)
sue knight commented on 01-Jun-2017 07:11 PM
This series is one of my all time faves. Thnx for the extra insight. I really miss those guys and wish there was more. Cant believe 2 days before 30th bday!
Léa Chaillou commented on 27-Jul-2017 02:10 AM
Such a wonderful series. Once I had read Dragonclaw, I really longed for the others (but living in France means I had to wait a little before my orders reached my home. It taught be to be a little more patient, though!)
Now I've (re-)read them all and I'm looking forward to the next Forsyth book!
Thank you so much for these beautiful novels and may Ea's bright face shine upon you!

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