“Relationships” is the theme of Janice Donnelly’s new work ‘Trying Times, a follow-up to debut novel ‘Buying Time’.
Janice explained: “I began writing my sequel novel in summer 2009, in the main to take my mind of the eternal waiting for replies from publishers I had submitted Buying Time to and to lift myself out of the doldrums of the recession that was unfolding all around me. All the news seemed to be bad so I decided to write an uplifting, feelgood book, albeit with characters dealing with some serious issues along the way.”
The Whitehead wordsmith didn’t experience the ‘second difficult’ syndrome that sometimes befalls those in the arts, though admits the challenge was “different”.
“I received some encouragement and support along the way, in the form of advice from a mainstream, traditional Irish publishing house, their publisher liked the introductory section I had submitted and they asked me to send the full manuscript. It was referred on to some of their readers and the feedback was enormously helpful, in the end they didn’t go for it, but not because they didn’t like it, they simply couldn’t take a chance on a new writer at that stage (spring 2010) traditional publishers were also beginning to feel the pinch, but the help I received from this source was invaluable.”
Janice, whose favourite book is ‘Gone with the Wind’ by Margaret Mitchell, feels she has gained a better feel for what works and, criticallly, what doesn’t. “I am much more aware of my faults and bad habits. I now write just as spontaneously as I ever did, but I am more inclined to read back the finished product in an objective manner, trying to see the piece as a reader would.”
She will host a joint launch with fellow local writer, Shirley Gault, on Thursday, December 19, after connecting through, on her own admission, a newspaper article. “I had placed the first chapter of my first novel, Buying Time, on an online writers’ site and needed votes to win, in the feature I asked the readers of Carrick Times to get behind me and vote, Shirley was one of the voters. She then placed some of her poetry on the online site and we became online friends, the friendship developed from there. Earlier this year Shirley was successful in gaining a publishing deal with new, innovative, local publishing house, David James, she then introduced me to them and I too was offered a deal.”