It’s always good to start a new year with some good news – and, for a writing school such as us, the best news we can possibly receive is that another of our former students has gone on to secure themselves a book deal. Step forward Stephanie Wahlstrom, alumnus of our 2012 Writing for Children course, who has just signed a deal with Piatkus Entice for her debut novel The Accidental Socialite. A semi-autobiographical romantic comedy about a girl who is catapulted into an exclusive world of free champagne and VIP areas after an accidental paparazzi pose with a married footballer, Stephanie’s novel will be published in April 2014.
‘Though I didn’t work on The Accidental Socialite on the Writing for Children course I took, it really helped me edit the book,’ says Stephanie. ‘The tutors really knew their stuff and I was introduced to “plot”, which I thought I knew about but totally didn’t. The course allowed me to get feedback on my work from a wide range of people as well as a realistic view of the publishing industry.’
Stephanie – who is represented by Curtis Brown’s Stephanie Thwaites – is still reeling from the news. ‘The whole experience has been surreal,’ she says. ‘I never thought I’d have such a prestigious publisher. But as soon as I’d met my editor Anna Boatman and the rest of the team, and they popped a bottle of Veuve, I knew Piaktus Entice was the perfect place for The Accidental Socialite.’
‘From the moment I started reading Stephanie’s hilarious, incredibly readable manuscript, I knew I wanted to publish it,’ says Anna Boatman. ‘Paige is an immediately engaging heroine whose confiding, genuine voice reminded me of Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series – but with extra glamour. Everybody on our team fell in love with it and we’re all incredibly excited about the opportunity to bring Paige’s unique, champagne-filled world to lots of lucky UK readers.’
The ninth ex-CBC student to find a publisher for their work, Stephanie follows in the footsteps of Jessie Burton (The Miniaturist to be published by Picador in 2014), Catherine Chanter (The Well to be published by Canongate in 2014), Tim Glencross (Barbarians to be published by John Murray in 2014), Kate Hamer (The Girl in the Red Coat to be published by Faber in 2015), Antonia Honeywell (The Ship to be published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in 2015), SD Sykes (Plague Land to be published by Hodder in 2014), Jake Woodhouse (After The Silence to be published by Michael Joseph in 2014) and another former student whose exciting news we’ll be announcing in full next week. Congratulations to them all.
As well as expert teaching from published authors, all our novel-writing courses offer dedicated modules on submitting your novel to literary agents – and include sessions on writing a synopsis and preparing a covering letter. Click for more information or to apply for our creative writing courses.