The Sunday Spotlight – Guest Blogger, Alison May, on ‘Getting the Call’

Our regular readers will know that The Write Romantics normally favour a Saturday Spotlight and, this week, we are delighted to welcome back our writing buddy, and flat-mate from the RNA conference, Alison May as a guest blogger.  We’d like to say that we specially changed the Saturday Spotlight to a Sunday in honour of all Alison’s exciting news since her last visit, just to make it stand out that little bit more, but the sad (and far less exciting) reality was a major broad band meltdown issue!  So, apologies, but we are sure you will agree that Alison’s guest blog was definitely worth the extra wait.

About Alison

Alison May last visited the WriteRomantics, back when she was still Alison Maynard, before she abandoned the last syllable of her name in a writerly pennamey sort of a way. Since then she’s signed her first publishing deal with Choc Lit, and has managed not to kill a single goldfish.

Her first novel, Sweet Nothing, will be published by Choc Lit, under their Choc Lit Lite digital first imprint, in November 2013. Sweet Nothing is a romantic comedy based on William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, because if you’re going to pilfer someone else’s plot, you might as well go for someone really good.

You can find out more about Alison at or follow her on Twitter @MsAlisonMay


Getting the Call

It’s the moment budding writers dream of  – that first call, the first time you pick up the phone and the voice at the other end says, “We love your writing. We’re going to make you a star. Take this six figure advance, and quit your day job this very second.” At least, that’s what I always imagined the voice saying.

Obviously real-life doesn’t work quite like that. In my case, it wasn’t a call at all; it was an email, followed by several more emails over several weeks as myself and Lyn from romantic fiction publisher, Choc Lit, tried repeatedly to make her very busy work schedule and my less busy but quite erratic work schedule coincide, so that we could meet up.

We eventually got together in central London. It was a discussion where Lyn did 90% of the talking and I grinned and nodded like a buffoon who’d temporarily lost the power of coherent speech. Fortunately, Lyn is an understanding soul, used to dealing with nervy first-time authors, and she offered me a contract for my debut novel, Sweet Nothing, despite my apparent dippiness. That meeting was three days before the RNA Conference. I signed the contract the very next day, and announced the deal, still in a bit of a daze, at the opening ‘Celebrations’ session at the conference.extension actually about myself, now I have a publishing contract in place. When people ask me what I do, I now tell them that I’m a writer, rather than fudging a bit and saying that I do various different things. I still giggle nervously when I say it, but I am starting to see myself as a writer first.

In another sense though, nothing changes. There are no six-figure advance fairies in most of our lives. No magic movie deals riding over the horizon just in time to pay the gas bill. Normal life has to go on, but now it goes on with an additional external pressure. I’m not just writing because I want to. I’m writing because someone out there has given me a contract and is prepared to invest time and money and effort into me and my writing, which is brilliant, and terrifying, and brilliant, and terrifying, and mostly brilliant.

Since signing that initial contract with Choc Lit to publish Sweet Nothing under their Choc Lit Lite imprint, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind. Sweet Nothing is due out in November – my editor (squeee!) is doing her review of the draft at the moment. I’ve written a short story, Devils and Heroes, and, weirdly, a chocolate cake recipe, for the Choc Lit Love Match anthology ( I’ve had a short story, Feel the Fear, accepted in the RNA’s upcoming anthology for early 2014, which I’m super-excited about. I’ve also written and submitted a novella to Choc Lit, which, with luck and a following wind, might also make it out into the world before the end of the year. It does feel like I’m on a very tiny little bit of a roll, which is amazing, and if I can get on a little roll, then anyone can. Just keep writing the best stuff you can, and keep sending that stuff out there into the world.

And now, I get to go right back to the start. Novel 2, page 1, the blank sheet of paper. It’s brilliant, and did I mention, a tiny bit terrifying?




19 thoughts on “The Sunday Spotlight – Guest Blogger, Alison May, on ‘Getting the Call’

  1. Alison, love your honesty about the mixture of excitement and sheer terror that getting the call evokes! Sounds like you are going to be crazy busy, but you are so right about the need to get yourself out there. Must try harder on that front and stop procrastinating by watching trashy TV and drinking too much wine… I’ll start tomorrow, honest. Good luck with everything x

  2. I am so pleased for you. It was definitely a conference weekend for you to celebrate. It does sound as though you are on a roll, enjoy the ride and I hope it continues for you. Choc lit sound as though there keeping you busy with the writing. Look forward to the release of your novel.
    Lorraine x

  3. Lovely to hear your story Alison…I look forward to reading “Sweet Nothing” and also the story in the RNA’s anthology. I’ve just bought Choc Lit Love Match…Jane Lovering’s “Raspberries” was a great way to start it off and I think me and my girls will be baking some of the recipes over the school holidays!
    Hope to meet you at the 2014 conference,
    Helen R 🙂

  4. You are so right – brilliant and terrifying. And wonderful. And scary. And ( enter more words from your thesaurus here).
    I’m looking forward to reading Sweet Nothing. Choc Lit publish some really great books (and I’m not just saying that because they publish me too). They encourage their authors to be creative and crazy and adventurous and true to themselves – and that is priceless. (Of course – a movie deal would be nice too – particularly if I got to cast the hero – but you can’t have everything).

  5. Lovely to read more about you Alison and I’m looking forward to reading your book – can’t beat a good romantic comedy! The first time I spoke to Lyn I was fortunately jet-lagged so the conversation is lost in the mists of time 🙂

  6. Hi Alison
    It’s fabulous to hear your story of getting the call. I’m so pleased that everything has taken off for you and you’re on such a wonderful roll with your writing at the moment. I hope you enjoy every minute of it (once you’ve stopped feeling terrified of course!) Very best of luck with Sweet Nothing.

  7. Looking forward to reading Sweet Nothing and it was great to read of your call (email) story. Wishing you all the best with your next book!

  8. Hi Alison, lovely to catch up on what our ex-flatmate from the RNA Conference is up to and fantastic to see the transition from guest blogger in hope to guest blogger in achievement! Best of luck with Sweet Nothing. Do come back and keep us posted on your continued success.

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