Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of her career in education. She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in hand, she loves working out in the gym and travelling. Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher in year three who saw potential in a six page story about an invisible man. Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first novel in 2016.
I was always called ‘imaginative’ as a child. I wasn’t really sure what that meant at the time, but I grew to understand that having an imagination, brightened life up a little. From a young age my mother took me to the library and my love of books grew. It wasn’t until I hit my late twenties that I actually thought writing a novel was something I’d like to do, at the time I was reading lots of books because I owned a very quiet boutique and it was a way to pass the time. I particularly enjoyed romantic comedy books, since it’s a genre that’s light and easy to read. I read a lot of Lindsey Kelk and Sophie Kinsella books and soon found myself daydreaming about my own story ideas.
I actually started writing back then and completed about half of a novel before my laptop was stolen and of course, I hadn’t backed it up. I left the idea of writing behind for a while since I couldn’t face trying to replicate what I’d lost. In actual fact, looking back, I was probably quite naïve about my ability. It wasn't until I approached the end of my maternity leave after my second child that I returned to the idea of writing. This time I read lots of blogs about writing, signed up to writing courses and practiced. I was in a much better position to begin my debut novel.
There were many occasions whereby I doubted my ability, I had sleepless nights, worrying about the fact I’d probably just written a load of rubbish and wasted my time. My driving force was the fact that I’d told family and friends that I’d started writing a novel. I was driven to finish it because I didn’t want people to see me give up again.
I did invest in a manuscript critique, I wasn’t ready to let friends or family read my work because I had no idea how it fared on the scale of decent to dreadful. I knew a good critique would point out strengths and weaknesses in my work, giving me an opportunity to improve the manuscript. I approached Katherine Trail at KT Editing services who provided my with a ten page summary of my work, she pointed out what I did well and what to work on. I learned a lot from this process and am thankful to Katherine for her diplomatic assessment, the way she articulated her thoughts and the fact she always pointed me towards a solution for any problems she found.
My plan was always to approach a publisher, there aren’t many publishers that will accept unsolicited manuscripts, but my thoughts were to try the few that did, and then approach agents if it came t nothing. HQDigital came highly recommended by other authors I’d come to know through online book groups. HQ are particularly well known for their gorgeous cover designs, they’re also a digital imprint of Harper Collins so a quite a bit player in the book market. I was thrilled to discover I could send a synopsis, cover letter and three chapters of my manuscript via email without an agent. I wasn’t expecting to hear anything back for a while, and to be honest, I wasn’t hopeful of a deal. I was more hoping that the rejection email that I was expecting may provide me with a glimpse of why my story wasn’t right. Needless to say, I was shocked when only a few days later the full manuscript was requested. That gave me hope, even if it was rejected at that point I knew the chapters I’d sent had caught their eye and as such there was something there to improve.
It was another two days before I got the call to offer me a one book deal. I was ecstatic, shocked and relieved.
My book ‘The Secret to Falling in Love’ was published worldwide in ebook format on the 9th of February 2017.
The Secret to Falling in Love
Status Update: I’m going offline for a while… Wish me luck! xx
Lifestyle journalist and thirty-something singleton Melissa hashtags, insta's and snapchats her supposedly fabulous life on every social media platform there is.
That is until she wakes up on her birthday, another year older and still alone, wondering if for all her internet dates, love really can be found online? The challenge: go technology free for a whole month!
Forced to confront the reality of her life without its perfect filters, Melissa knows she needs to make some changes. But when she bumps into not one, but two gorgeous men, without the use of an app, she believes there could be hope for love offline!
If only there was a way to choose the right guy for her…
I'm generally pulled in a million different directions and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Here's a glimpse of my life - hope you enjoy it! And if there's a big lapse between posts, well, that's the way life goes in Amy's world.