It is a truth universally acknowledged that a writer in possession of a finished manuscript must be in want of a publisher. Sorry I couldn’t resist that take on the first line of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
On Saturday afternoon I attended a Worcester Literary Festival event entitled ‘A Weekend with Mr Darcy’. This was a talk by author Victoria Connelly. It was held in the board room at Worcester University’s City campus (co-incidentally where Victoria Connelly studied English Literature). This was a grand room, with the audience arranged on big comfy chairs, almost reminiscent of those musical soiree scenes from adaptations of Austen’s work. The university buildings were very impressive.
Ellie Swoop had accompanied me. Sue Johnson, whose writing class I have attended for over a year, was there (watch out for her book Fable’s Fortune to be published on 1 August). I had gone to meet Alison Maynard, another writer, in advance of the RNA conference and I also met Sarah Broadhurst, who reviews books on her blog.
Victoria Connelly was lovely. It is always a relief to me when authors are normal people – I don’t know what else I expect them to be! Victoria was elegant in a purple dress and had a lovely well-spoken voice. Cue my insecurities in case I ever get published. Can I do elegant and will my Black Country tones stand scrutiny?
It was both heartening and frustrating to hear that Victoria has trodden the path to publication of most authors of numerous rejections. Her first publications were in German and one has been made into a film. These books have not been published here, although watch out for Kindle editions shortly. She is now published in the UK and US with Molly’s Millions, A Weekend with Mr Darcy, The Perfect Hero and shortly Dreaming of Mr Darcy. The last three are a trilogy tapping her knowledge of Jane Austen.
I asked Victoria about her writing habits. She writes 1000 words a day and as she suffers with RSI she uses voice recognition software Dragon Naturally Speaking. I was particularly interested in this, having tried voice recognition software when working on a non-fiction book some years ago. It didn’t seem to like my voice, but was very good at recognising my swear words when I got frustrated with it. Good to hear things have moved on.
It was a lovely afternoon. Afterwards we popped over to Worcester Waterstones, where Victoria was signing her books and bought a personally dedicated copy. We left feeling inspired and uplifted.
Have you any experiences of book signings, author talks or using voice recognition software you would like to share?