I spoke to Jo Finney, Assistant Features Editor/Books Editor for Good Housekeeping, who told me I’d won the competition. I remember very little about what we talked about, it went by in a blur of amazement and joy; all I know is my mum overheard the conversation and said I kept saying thank you, a lot.
I’m still stunned by it all, I’m also a tiny bit convinced I’m dreaming this.
I’ve been writing for seven years, working on my debut on and off, entering competitions, submitting to agents, making it to longlists, going on a writing workshop with Penguin Random House, reaching the final four of the Hodderscape open submission. I’ve worked hard, really hard, but never made it to the next step.With every rejection, with every piece of feedback I received, I took what I learnt and put it into my manuscript, writing and rewriting it.
I refused to give up because I knew this was what I wanted, this is what I love and think I’m good at, it's what I want to do with my life. Over the next few weeks I’m going to share my journey with you, the ups and downs, the joys and the frustrations, because there has been a lot of both.
It’s also a journey that’s only just beginning, so stick with me and I’ll share with you everything that’s to come.
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Claire Wade is the winner of the Good Housekeeping Novel Competition and author of The Choice. She was bed bound for six years with severe ME, trapped in a body that wouldn't do what she wanted. She now writes about women who want to break free from the constraints of their lives, a subject she's deeply familiar with.