Lara Sleath – My Road to Being Published
It was the trip to India that did it. I drove with my boyfriend from London to Calcutta. On the way, I decided to write a book about it. We’d had so many adventures. We’d hung out with war lords and had bathed elephants in holy rivers. How could the book not be a bestseller?
But when I wrote the thing, something happened. The words kept getting tangled. And I didn’t sound like me at all. I sounded wooden.
I finished the book but it sucked. I was too embarrassed to show it to anyone. I kept promising my friends that soon I give them something good to read.
Next, I decided to write a children’s book. Kids books were easier, right? Or at least they were shorter. I wrote the book then hired a mentor, an extremely kind author called Stephen Measday. He told me gently that the plot wasn’t great. We bounced around ideas and on the back of this, I produced another children’s book – Archie and the Upside Down Circus.
I sent Archie to publishers in Australia where I was living at the time. A woman from Penguin Australia returned my manuscript with a note. She told me that my writing wasn’t quite ready but that she believed that my next book would be published. I cherished this note for years.
Spurred on by this, I wrote two more books but I didn’t finish either of them. All the time, I was going on writing courses, reading endless how-to books on writing and studying the hell out of story structure. I went to writing conferences and joined critique groups.
Next, I finished a romantic comedy, which I was convinced was the one. I hired an independent editor who liked it too. She warmed up some agents about my book. But when I sent it to them, they all passed. One liked the characters but not the writing. Another loved the writing but not the characters. Even still, I felt like I was close.
Some time later For My Sister was born. I sent sample chapters to agents. Five of them asked to see the whole manuscript. But again they all said no. I started to get angry. What more could I do? I’d jumped through all of the hoops and had ticked every box.
I remember the evening when I received the email from Evernight Teen. I was sitting on the beach. It was the first sunny day in ages and it seemed like the whole of the Vancouver had come out of hibernation. The ocean stretched before me in a swathe of blue. To the left of the high rises, I could see the snow-dusted mountains. It was so beautiful. But I was too angry to enjoy the beauty. I was never going to get published. I sat sulkily flicking through my phone.
Then I clicked on the email from Evernight Teen. They wanted my book. I was so shocked that I turned my phone off. Maybe the email wasn’t real. Perhaps it was a sick joke.
Later that evening, I told my husband that someone was going to publish my book.
“Oh wow,” he said. “Finally. Hey, why are you crying?”
“Because I’m so happy.”
And I am really happy. Thank you Evernight Teen for believing in me and in For My Sister.
Teen Publishing / 61,000 words
Bresha blames herself for her younger sister’s death. She knew that Arlene was
gullible and fragile. Yet she still let her tone-deaf sister meet with Saul Sanderstorm, a record company mogul whose
charisma is as big as his temper.
floating in Camden Lock canal, the police call it suicide. But Bresha knows
different. She knows that sleazy Saul is somehow to blame. And so does Arlene’s
ghost. Why else would she fog up mirrors and trace the letter S for Saul
through the condensation on the glass? Now, Bresha has to find a way to prove
that Saul’s guilty.
Saul is getting a kick out of mentally breaking singers, she wonders if this
happened to Arlene. The truth has to be ugly and shocking. Because why else
would Saul be prepared to do anything to conceal it?
her life to unearth the facts. Or drop the case and be forever tormented by her
screaming. She realized that it was her. She found herself on her feet. She
took off down the path, her breath jagged, her shoes pounding over the gravel.
Fire flashed against her legs, as the nettles stung her.
few more steps. She had to be faster than him. Surely, she was faster. He was
paunchy old man. Her feet hit a boulder and she stumbled. She felt his hands on
her back. Slam. He pushed her down. A burning pain shot across
her cheek, as her face smashed into the gravel.
up and ran on. He sprang on her from behind. Again, he brought her down. She
twisted around. He threw himself on top of her, his weight crushing her. She
reached up and tried to claw his face, but he caught her hands and pinned them
down by her sides onto the path.
will not to do this to me,” he snarled. “You will not ruin
to speak, but her tongue was frozen. She gazed into his eyes, hoping to reason
with him on an unspoken level, human to human. She’d read somewhere that eyes
were supposed to be the view point into people’s souls. Now she saw his soul.
It looked like the photograph of a cancerous organ on the side of a cigarette
packet, black and festering.
his head toward her lips. Was he going to kiss her like he might have been
trying to do that day on the couch? She turned her head away, pushing one side
of her face into the grit. He’d never kiss her. She’d die before he kissed her.
bite into her neck. He was giving her a love bite, the sick pig. She screamed
as he drew blood.
Lara Sleath has been writing stories – on paper and in her head – for as long
as she can remember. But gave up on the idea of becoming a writer because she
believed that the idea was too far-fetched. Instead she took the only slightly
more sensible option of working in the music industry.
proved too dull for Lara. In her mid-twenties, she set off from London with her
boyfriend in a battered VW van. Their aim was to drive to India. They arrived a
quarter of a year after adventures with warlords and after having seen many
boyfriend in the beaten-up VW van is Lara’s husband. She lives with him and
their two children in Vancouver, Canada close to the ocean and the mountains.
Lara writes every day surrounded by an army of cats. For Her Sister is
her debut novel.
/* Style Definitions */
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;