I totally understand why some people hate the idea of New Year Resolutions because of the pressure it puts on ourselves. But I personally love them – I think the beginning of a new year gives me the reset I needed after a (usually!) well-rested Christmas period and also just the kick up the arse to get my life in order. And I love it. So for 2022, I really want to make my writing a priority. I want to find an agent this year and query some more. I feel so grateful to have been chosen for a mentorship with Louise O’Neill too, which I’ll spend the first half of 2022 doing. But in terms of my own novels, I have three I’ll be working on this year and I’m going to spend today’s post telling you a little about each.
When You Were Mine
WYWM is the novel I’m currently writing! I’ve been writing it since March last year and it’s been taking me a while, but I’m okay with that because each book has its own pace. I have 51,000 words of this written already and I’m aiming for about 75-80k. This is my queer Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1980s New York, during the height of the AIDS epidemic and it follows the rival fan-clubs of Prince and Madonna and what happens when a member from each begins to fall for each other. I’m absolutely loving writing it and my two main characters. I have to say, it is definitely the saddest and bleakest book I’ve written so far but I guess they can’t all be happy (although now that I think about…not many of them really are!)
My goal is to finish this draft by the end of May. I’m giving myself a good amount of time because I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself—especially with final year and all that—but I’ve really gotten back into the swing of it lately so perhaps it won’t even take me until May. Stay tuned to find out!
Ivywood is my whole heart and joy. It is set in England in 1911, and it’s my very gay, very murder-y Downton Abbey YA novel. George has just become heir to his family estate following the death of his father, but when he has to plan a gala for his home’s 300th anniversary and a family of Indian aristocrats come to stay, including the arrival of a very handsome young boy and a mysterious murder not soon after, he realises he’s going to get a lot more than he bargained for.
At the beginning of last year, I finished the third draft of this and decided to query it for the rest of the year. I didn’t get much luck unfortunately but I also submitted it for a mentorship programme run by the Words Ireland and I was absolutely delighted to hear it was chosen, and better still, that Louise O’Neill was allocated as my mentor! It is quite surreal to be having Zoom calls with Louise O’Neill talking about my novel when I’ve been a fan of all her work for such a long time but I’m incredibly grateful and as a result, I’ll be beginning a fourth draft and working with Louise over the next six months to make Ivywood the best book it can be.
My goal is to have the fourth draft finished and finalised also by the end of June, which is when I should hopefully have my last meeting with Louise and I can take advantage of every piece of advice she gives me. Then I’ll tidy her up and send her out on submission again and hope that my weird little deer book finds a home!
Mam / Mammy
This is the new idea I’ll be working on! It’s my first ever adult novel and as you can see the title is still undecided. It’s going to be set in 90s Ireland and it will explore a relationship between a Catholic mother and her son who has just returned from the UK and come out as gay. I’m going to tell it from the perspective of both mother and son to see both sides of their relationship. I’m really excited for this – it feels new and personal and different for me, and I’m always up for trying something new.
For my final semester I have to do a creative dissertation (10000 words!) so this will be the novel I’ll be working on for that. I’m not going to do too much work on it other than perfecting the first 10k as much as I can, but once I finish Ivywood and WYWM, I plan to spend the second half of 2022 writing the full first draft of this!
For all those who’ve read this far, thank you! I’m really passionate about writing and this year more than ever I’m determined to make my beloved hobby into an actual career. So I better get to work.