When I was a little girl, I dove under the covers long past my bedtime and read novels by torchlight. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be when I left school, but I knew I enjoyed the feel of language on my tongue, words woven across the page and flowing from my fingers. At university I chose to study literature, but still hid from the ghostlike dream of becoming an author. When the weight of working in politics was too much, books were my refuge. I took my first steps in motherhood at the same time as my first steps as a writer, and those parts of me felt more sacred than anything that had come before.
I began to carve out time to write because creating made me happy long before my words had been found by readers. Eventually, journal posts became blog posts. I met other writers and creators on Twitter and in critique groups. I found my tribe. Sometimes I even met them in real life. I began to write essays, flash fiction, poems and short stories. Those short stories found their way into anthologies. One became the basis for the first novel I completed. While of each of those hundreds of thousands of words is a piece of me, I’ve not been able to write these words before:
I signed a three book deal!
Shakes head in amazement, swallows nerves, showers house with confetti, whirls the kids around in delight
I’ve signed with Evolved Publishing, a small US press with a reputation for strong editorial standards and nurturing its authors. I submitted the first three chapters of my debut novel to them in August. In November they requested the full manuscript and a few weeks ago I had a Skype call with Dave Lane, Evolved’s managing director. I liked him and the company’s vision a lot. I’m so excited to learn through this process, to hold my novel in my hands and to be able to focus on finishing the next one. It’s a great team. You can meet their authors – including the supernovas that are P.K.Tyler and Ciara Ballintyne – editors and cover artists here.
My novel, a story of sexual politics and second chances in Mumbai, will be published in late autumn, and I’ll be delivering a novel a year after that. All three books will be written for the same audience. I write literary fiction, and the novels will be standalone rather than a series. My five year plan does toy with circling back to the setting and a couple of minor characters from the first book – I’m attached, you know? – but these won’t be connected stories.
Photo by Taku
So there you have it. My news. It didn’t happen overnight. This process has been one determined step after the other, but I can’t believe my luck. There’s more hard work and creating to come – hooray! I’ve been picking out examples of book covers I like and meeting EP folk. It’s all a bit surreal. Thank you to everyone, who has helped me this far, those I know online and in real life, my critique group and beta readers, those of you who read me here and pushed me on, my husband especially. You’re stars, the lot of you.
Eagle eyed readers amongst you will have noticed that I’ve rebranded myself as Nillu Nasser for simplicity. As this has meant a change of domain and email address, some readers have mentioned that my posts and newsletters are now going to spam. If you want to keep in touch, please consider adding me to your address book and signing up for my newsletter. Updates are occasional and the next one will include a free short story to celebrate the book deal (if you don’t sign up in time, email me when you do and I’ll send the story over), in addition to info on my editing and cover artist team. Beams with pleasure. You can also follow me on Facebook here.
Have a great weekend, all <3