Lana Pattinson's got a whole bunch of pimped out bios for PitchWars. Now I'm one of them. Go hop-a-long.
I'm Heidi Wessman Kneale
& I write Fantasy Romance.
& I write Fantasy Romance.
About MeI'm a polymath. That means I know lots of things about lots of stuff. I've had plenty of opportunity to become sufficiently masterful at some rather fancy skills.
My day job is IT Support, as it has been for the past twenty-odd years. Got into it at university as a way of supporting my educational habit and never really got out. It pays well, but doesn't satisfy my soul.
I'm a musician. I like music. I spent my teenage years in a symphony orchestra. I performed at Carnegie Hall. Music is my hobby now, even though I once did it professionally. My BA is in Film and Music.
I'm an astronomer. I'm currently pursuing a Master of Science in Astronomy. I observe with a Celestron NexStar 130SLT. I'm more into the conceptual astronomy, rather than astrophysics and I absolutely adore history of astronomy, planetary science and astrobiology.
|Look! I shot the Moon!|
My Author Dream
Everything I've done has had its season and has made me happy for a while. But I keep coming back to the one thing I absolutely cannot live without.
I want to be an author. I always have wanted to be an author.
As a child I secretly dreamed of writing books that people loved. Why? Because I loved books. I loved them soooo much! They were my best friends. I read voraciously.
One of the greatest powers an author can have is to make someone happy because of a book. Writing makes me very happy and I want to share that happiness with others.
I wrote my first novel at age ten. Wrote another couple of novels and a handful of short stories as a teen, but didn't really get serious about writing until my freshman year at university.
My writing apprenticeship started off with a bang when crime author Dr Anne Wingate took me under her wing. “What are you doing studying biology when you should be writing?” she once told me. She was so right. Even when I thought I wanted to be something else, underneath it all, I wanted to be an author.
It's been there the whole time. No matter what I was doing with my life, there was always a novel in my life I was working on. I snuck in writing classes at university. Even when I was severely abused and degraded by my peers in those classes (I wrote genre fiction, they wrote literary), it never killed my thirst to be a novelist.
I joined the Online Writing Workshop in its first year and pretty much spent the next decade and a half there honing my craft. It was incredibly useful for me through my apprenticeship and the first part of my journeymanhood. I highly recommend it. I've participated in crit groups (Vicious Circle and Stromatolights) and have had a handful of beta-readers and CPs.
I had lots of little things published--short stories and non-fiction articles, but hadn't yet cracked the novel market.
That was my fault.
Several years ago I watched as my OWW peeps started getting books published. Good books. Impressive books. Books you have read.
Me? Nothing. Why not?
Because all this time I'd been treating writing as a hobby instead of a career.
So I buckled down and got serious.
I dug out and polished up my favouritest novels and wrote several more. I queried them and submitted some novellas to a small press. The small press loved my novellas and I've been publishing steadily with them ever since.
One query of mine (a Regency Romance with magic) got some nibbles, but no serious bites. I decided to go indie with it because it's a really good story. It's only been out a few weeks, but people have said nice things about it. As soon as I can get more of a marketing push behind it, I expect it to do rather well. I have two more novels in this series I plan on taking indie.
Let's Go Pro
Being a hybrid author has helped show me what I want in a career. Indie's nice and all, but my dreams have always been in the direction of commercial publishing. I enjoy my experience with the small press--the working with a team, an editor to counterbalance my blind spots, a marketing champion who knows the secret promotional handshakes, lovely cover artists. I want to take this to the next level.
I wanna be published by some Random Penguin. For that, I need an agent.
I have this beautiful second-world Fantasy trilogy that I love to bits. My beta-readers adore it. My freelance editor enjoyed it. But I can't seem to win over an agent.
What do you do when the God of the Dark proposes marriage? Say no, of course!
What do you do when Heidi Kneale queries you with a novel? (You're supposed to say yes. Stop saying no!)
What to Expect from Me as a Mentee
I'm a journeyman author. I've written twenty novels (some of which will never see the light of day. Others I hope have a glorious dawning). I've written lots of short stories and I've written a half-dozen novellas. I've spend decades in various crit groups, etc. I've had editors tell me like it is, and together we've created publishable stuff.
I'm not new to the game. You tell me something, I will listen and I will work with you.
In the early stages of my career I had a mentor and I learned so much from her. Every major step of my career has come through the help of others. Now as I search for an agent, I find I am in need of help once more.
I’ve been on the query train for a few years. I’ve gotten some interest in a few full requests and some R&Rs, but there’s as far as it's gone. I would love a mentor to help me lift my game that extra bit so I can reach the next level: representation by an agent.
I hope to find a mentor who can see what I can't. Is it my voice? Is it my pacing? Is my query letter lacking in that je ne sais quois that snags an agent's interest? Beta-readers have helped me immensely, but they can't help me with those little things that an agent might be looking for.
Maybe a PitchWars mentor can.
I believe I've written a novel with a solid plot with deep characters; it's kept my beta-readers up all night. I need advice on how to lift this glorious novel to the next level.
So, I'm entering PitchWars 2016.
Her Grace is done with dreaming about success and would much rather work for it.