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22 December 2017

The number of former CBC students to be published rises to 37

by Rufus Purdy

It’s always thrilling when we hear that former students of ours have achieved their goal and had their novels picked up by publishers. So imagine our excitement last week when we heard that two people who’ve taken our creative writing courses (took the same course, in fact) have landed a book deal. Step forward James Hall and Maria Realf – both of whom studied on our Autumn 2012 novel-writing course in London, along with Lisa Williamson, the author of YA bestseller The Art of Being Normal.

James’s debut novel The Industry of Human Happiness – a 19th century-set story about the birth of recorded music – is to be published by Lightning Books in May 2018. It’s set in the music halls, opium dens and murky backstage world of late-Victorian theatreland during the early days of recorded music. Max and his younger cousin Rusty have a vision of launching the gramophone industry from a Covent Garden basement, but a renowned opera singer they have just recorded is brutally murdered. When Max’s sweetheart, the ambitious singer Delilah Green, is caught in the middle, the pair find themselves battling rival manufacturers, the owners of the London theatres and, ultimately, each other, for their very futures.

‘The birth of the recorded music industry always felt like fertile ground for a novel,’ says James, a freelance journalist and music critic for The Daily Telegraph. ‘Add into the mix the seedy underbelly of late Victorian London, a dollop of romance, the magic and passion of performance, a family rivalry, and the type of format wars that still resonate today and you have the ingredients of The Industry of Human Happiness.’

Maria’s novel The One – which has already been a bestseller in Germany – will be published by HarperImpulse in March 2018, and is already being billed as a must-read for fans of Me Before You and PS. I Love You. The One follows the story of Lizzie Sparkes, just weeks away from the wedding of her dreams. But then the one that got away walks back in to her life with a bombshell, forcing her to make a choice that will change their worlds forever.

‘I’ve been blown away by the response to the book in Germany,’ says Maria, who’s also a journalist. ‘And I can’t wait to bring Lizzie’s story to a whole new audience in March. HarperImpulse has been revolutionising the romantic fiction market, and I’m thrilled to be joining its talented team of writers.’

For an in-depth course as part of a group of 15 (in which students are selected on the basis of their submission) with a great tutor and participation from our literary agents, apply for:

Six-Month Novel-Writing Course in London with Christopher Wakling (deadline for applications is Sunday 21 January).

Six-Month Online Novel-Writing Course with Lisa O’Donnell (deadline for applications is Sunday 28 January).

For a dedicated online course for those writing for young adults or children as part of a group of 15 (in which students are selected on the basis of their submission), with a top children’s author, apply for: 

Writing YA and Children’s Fiction with Catherine Johnson (deadline for applications is Sunday 4 February).

We are also offering three low-cost ‘foundation’ online courses, featuring tuition from CBC director Anna Davis:

Starting to Write Your Novel (deadline for enrolment is midnight on Mon 15 January).

Write to the End of Your Novel (deadline for enrolment is midnight on Mon 22 January).

Edit & Pitch Your Novel (deadline for enrolment is midnight on Mon 29 January).


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