It's finally happened! My First Book has been released into the wild! To celebrate, I'll be hosting a series of blogs from authors, who will be telling us about their First Book. More of this, shortly.

First of all, I'd like to share with you a little of my experience of launching a debut novel. Publication Day had always been my focus, but it came and went in a Covid-ridden haze. After avoiding it for 3 years, it finally got me, but I was not to be beaten. I had arranged a launch celebration evening for a couple of weeks after publication. This week, The Rose of Florence was launched in the glorious Insole Court in Llandaf. (Worth a visit if you're in the area.)

I was very nervous, but once I'd got over that, it was a very special experience. Family and friends were there to support me, I sold some books and I got to talk about my story to a captive audience. What could be better?

This got me thinking about the experiences of other authors on publishing their first book. So, I asked them! Throughout March, I'll be publishing interviews with some wonderful authors, all with the theme of My First Book. As they'll be asked a series of questions, it's only fair that I take my turn too, so here are my responses to my own interview questions. I'll keep it brief!

When did you publish your first book, and what started you writing?
My first book was published in January 2023. I'd only really written a dissertation for my Masters degree, and writing fiction is a completely different skill, but that's really what gave me the impetus to give it a go.

Tell us about that book.
It's an historical fiction, set against the backdrop of the Renaissance in Florence. It has romance, murder, intrigue...and some good recipes!

What is your fondest memory of publishing your first book?
I have three highlights. Firstly, when I saw the design of the cover, I cried. I could never have imagined anything so beautiful. Secondly, holding the proof copy of the book in my hand. At this point, I had achieved my dream - to see my story in print. It seems that it even gets better. Lastly, my launch evening. This will live long in my memory as a very special experience.

Tell us about your latest book.
Well, my latest book is also my first book. Perhaps I'll revisit this question in the future!

What advice would you give to new writers?
Coming from a standpoint of relatively little experience, my advice is to read (even the books you don't enjoy can teach you about what you want to write), write (whenever you can, whatever you can) and chat. There are so many supportive writers' groups with years of valuable experience to draw on. In short, I'd say - just do it! You only ever regret the things that you don't do.