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20 July 2018

From creative writing student to author of Waterstones Crime Thriller of the Month

Jenny Quintana
by Katie Smart Course News, From Our Students

In the past few years Waterstones has proved its ability to ‘make’ a book, through its influential ‘book of the month’ promotion. Each month the bookshop picks four paperbacks: a fiction and non-fiction title, a children’s book and a thriller. It was this time last year that Jane Harper’s The Dry held the coveted ‘thriller’ spot, which was key in boosting the paperback at a crucial time, building the momentum that helped it become one of the biggest selling debuts of 2017.

Fast-forward twelve-months, and we were delighted to hear that Jenny Quintana’s haunting debut, The Missing Girl, was Waterstones’ July 2018’s thriller pick.

Jenny was a student on our six-month London-based novel-writing course back in 2014. She worked on her debut novel, The Missing Girl, with support from tutor Erin Kelly and a lively student cohort which included Richard and Judy’s ‘Search for a Bestseller’ winner Caz Frear. Soon after the course finished, Jenny was signed up by C+W’s Sophie Lambert, who sold The Missing Girl to Mantle in the UK, with foreign rights sold in Germany and Italy. Now Jenny’s atmospheric novel, set over thirty years in the aftermath of the disappearance of a beloved older sibling, can be seen in book shop windows and display tables country wide.

To celebrate her triumph, we’ve bought together a few recent blog pieces and interviews from Jenny in the past year.

The Missing Girl, Thriller of the Month

Jenny on the inspiration behind The Missing Girl:

Like most people, when I hear news stories not only about lost children but about other senseless and unexpected tragedies, I find them impossible to understand; ‘normal’ life changes in an instant. It seems especially terrible when the truth is hidden; when no one knows what happened or why. Often the focus is on the parents, but I wanted to explore the effect loss can have on a younger sibling; how they might deal with the void left in their lives.

Read the full interview here.

Jenny on finishing her novel:

Meeting other writers and sharing common concerns is also very motivating. I considered joining a local writers’ group, taking part in one-of workshops or doing a course. In the end, I did the Curtis Brown Creative six month writing course with Erin Kelly as my tutor. It took me right out of my comfort zone which was really good for me: going up to London once or twice a week, meeting other students and learning how to accept and give criticism. I also met people from the industry who gave us fantastic practical advice and, as well as Erin’s brilliant teaching, Anna Davis helped me fix some nagging issues with my manuscript.  And of course, at the end of it, that’s where I met my fabulous agent, Sophie Lambert.

Read the full blog here.

Jenny Quintana recently spoke to Dolores Gordon Smith in a ‘How I Got Published’ article in the August issue of Writing Magazine, where she talks more about how she met her agent Sophie Lambert through the CBC course and gives other helpful tips for aspiring authors and insights into how she got published. Check it out here.

You can purchase Jenny’s debut novel in any Waterstones.

If you’re interested in taking a creative writing course with us, take a look at what we’ve currently got on offer.

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