Zanna Mackenzie lives in the UK with her husband, 4 dogs, a vegetable patch that’s home to far too many weeds and an ever expanding library of books waiting to be read.
Being a freelance writer and editor of business publications is her ‘day job’ but, at every opportunity, she can be found scribbling down notes on scenes for whatever novel she’s working on. She loves it when the characters in her novels take on minds of their own and start deviating from the original plot!
Formerly a travel agent and therapist (she has qualifications in clinical aromatherapy, crystal healing, naturopathic nutrition and herbalism) she loves walking the dogs and gardening – that’s when she’s not writing or reading!
Zanna has written two novels, The Love Programme (Astraea Press) and How Do You Spell Love? (Crooked Cat Publishing) and both were published in early 2013.
- We know that, like us, you were once a member of the NWS but we wondered if you could tell us a bit about how you came to join, how long you have been a member, the genre you write in and what inspired you to start writing?
When I wrote my first novel I found out about a government-supported regional writing and arts network who offered free manuscript appraisals from local published authors to people who lived in East Midlands and I sent my work to them. The feedback was hugely useful and the person who reviewed my work suggested I should join the NWS and submit my novel through the scheme. Places in the NWS are limited and each year you have to renew in January, fortunately this was in December so the timing was just right for me to get my application form in! I was in the NWS for three years and 2 of the 3 books I put through the NWS for appraisal have since gone on to publication. I write romance/chicklit. What inspired me to write? Well, I’ve always wanted to. As a child I made up stories and created my own books from folded paper stapled together. At school I wanted to be a journalist but ended up working in the travel industry. I started writing articles – travel, health and lifestyle stuff – and got them accepted in various publications. Then I felt like trying my hand at fiction and got a short story published in a national magazine and so I began to plot out my first novel and the writing grew from there.
- Please can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication and how ‘The Call’ came about?
I’ve been writing for years, fiction and non-fiction, and had actually given up as I was disillusioned and thought I was wasting my time. Last year my husband encouraged me to try again and send some completed manuscripts out to publishers for consideration – something I’d never done before. I edited the two books, made them as good as I felt I could and sent them off, expecting nothing. Within six weeks both books had been accepted by publishers – I was stunned, amazed – and I sobbed with happiness! The Love Programme was published by Astraea Press in February 2013 (it was a much edited version of the second novel I put through the NWS) and How Do You Spell Love? was published by Crooked Cat in March 2013 ( a much edited version of the third novel I put through the NWS)
- What’s next for you, Zanna?
I’m planning on doing major edits and a revamp on my first novel in the hope of getting it published. I’m editing my fourth novel and will be sending that for consideration to a publisher soon. I have 40,000 words of my fifth novel written so once I’ve edited book 4 and book 1I’ll go back to finishing writing book 5. I also have plot outlines in place for books 6 and 7. A novella prequel to The Love Programme will be putting in an appearance soon too.
- Have you got any advice for others who might be hoping to emulate your success in securing a publisher or perhaps an agent?
Don’t give up! If writing is really what you want to do, feel compelled to do, then persevere. Join writing groups on line and in person, make time to write, take it seriously and just keep believing in yourself and your books.
- What are your dreams and aspirations as a writer, in terms of your long-term career?
I want to just write, write and then write some more! I love the whole writing process, from letting your imagination run riot creating characters and plots, to editing and eventually seeing the book finished. I feel tremendously privileged to have had 2 books published and to be given this opportunity to try to carve out a long term career as an author.
- What was the single biggest benefit of joining the NWS, do you think?
The feedback from published authors in the same genre – it was invaluable.
- Is there anything else you’d like to share with us or any other advice you can offer?
As soon as my books were published and I became eligible I joined the Romantic Novelists Association (who run the NWS) as a full member – they’re a wonderfully supportive organisation.
Thank you Zanna, for taking part in our Monday interview and we wish you all the best for continued success.
Find out more about Zanna at:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/zanna. mackenzie
Amazon Author Page – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zanna-Mackenzie/e/B00BKY1A18/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0