|A Blessing in Disguise – Gillian Duffy|
In January 2010 I found myself jobless, confused and a little fearful of the future. I’d been made redundant, so the New Year brought many questions, and concerns, which needed urgent attention. The loss of a job often forces people to take stock, so I did. I knew what I really wanted to be – writing has always been my passion - but could I really be an author? I was now in the perfect position to go for my goal.
Fiction has always been my main focus, so I was determined to turn my writing wishes into reality. Applying to St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, to study English, I hoped, would help me achieve my dream. Receiving my letter of acceptance is a moment that I will never forget.
College began in September 2010. Studying a diverse mix of authors was exciting and introduced me to many different writing styles. I took this opportunity to change my redundancy experience into something positive and writing gave me the creative channel to do that.
Writing has always been an essential part of my life. It’s like a constant friend - always there. My relationship with words began during my teens. I was forever scribbling thoughts and emotions into diaries and notebooks. Those short stories were my first attempt at fiction and, at the time, I wasn’t concerned with form and content, but those little lines were my own kind of literature. Releasing my imagination onto the page always did, and always will, give me great pleasure.
The really exciting part of the story began on Saturday May 14th 2011 when I attended an Inkwell Writing Seminar in Dun laoghaire, hosted by Vanessa O’Loughlin of writing.ie. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet other aspiring authors, publishers and to hear Vanessa’s valuable advice. The importance of social networking was a crucial lesson learnt that day, so I didn’t delay in logging onto Twitter.
Book Republic was mentioned at the seminar and they were the first publisher whose tweets I began to follow; it must have been fate! When I saw the advertisement for their writers’ night, which was taking place the following Thursday, I took a break from studying – my end of year exams were about to begin – and got myself down to the Irish Writers’ Centre in Parnell Square. And I’m so glad I did. I was really impressed with Book Republic’s dynamic approach to publishing. Listening to Jenna Guy and Dan Harvey, the authors who spoke on the night, discussing their publishing experiences just boosted my interest.
The following Wednesday I sent my manuscripts to Book Republic and two weeks later I signed a three-book deal!
I’ve been on a high ever since.
I’ll be forever grateful to Book Republic/Maverick House for giving me the opportunity to publish my work. They’ve helped me realise my dream and I’m privileged to be working with such a professional, yet personable, team; they’ve made this experience even more enjoyable.
When I look back on the past year, I now realise that my redundancy was like a blessing in disguise. Without it, returning to college and signing my book deal may never have happened.