Chapter One Prize 2022

Honourable Mention in the Chapter One Prize by GutsyGreatNovelist

It’s been another little while since my last post, the editing and re-writing of my second novel being the major reason why. Looking back through my posts to check when my latest update was, I realised I’d never mentioned that amidst the blog tours for Embers, I finished my teaching job in Scotland, moved back to Sweden, and started applying for PhD positions in literature here. All the while working on book two. Simply put – a lot!

The hard work has started to pay off though as I this week received an honourable mention in the chapter one prize, organised by best-selling novelist Joan Dempsey, finding of the writing platform GutsyGreatNovelist. Joan selected 17 finalists out of 801 international entries. Of these, 9 were notable mentions, 5 honourable mentions, and three winners. As a judge, she was looking for a clear point of view, a tone and style appropriate to the genre, an introduction to the protagonist, a sense of what the story would be about, a gripping opening scene, a vivid setting, and a chapter ending that urged readers to move on the to the second.

These are milestones I daresay all writers strive towards in their work, as they are building blocks for story telling, and novel writing in particular. Getting external validation from another author that you’ve ticked all these boxes is still extremely satisfying and a sense of release – you know you’re on the right track with this story. No number of previous publications takes that feeling away or dampens it in any way.

In that way, this nomination is a well-needed motivation for me to keep pushing with this novel. Last year while teaching, I experienced a lot of anxiety and stress over my job, living through a second lockdown abroad without my family, and also about the publication of Embers. My writing suffered as a consequence. The Chapter One Prize shows clearer than anything else that I was right not to give up on the novel but keep pushing forward while having patience and compassion with myself. I’m looking forward to the next opportunities this story can bring.

Link to the list of winner’s on the Chapter One prize website, with a link to the opening chapter of Wolf Hour, is here.