Millie Vigor on Sailing Into Publishing

Catherine of Deepdale by Millie VigorAll the nice girls love a sailor, but sailors long for new horizons and tend to sail off to foreign parts and stay away for months.  I was married to a sailor.  One day he said, ‘I’m going aboard a ship.  We’re going Far East.  I shall be away a year and a month.’

It wasn’t the first time I’d been left alone, but never for quite so long.  I would have to find something to occupy me in the winter evenings.  I thought I’d go to night school and learn to type.  It might come in useful some day.   But that would mean a babysitter and a 40 mile round trip to town.  Instead I bought myself a portable typewriter and a Teach Yourself to Type book. I stuck bits of paper on the keys and taught myself to touch type.  Then I wrote Letter From a Home-Based Wife, packed it up and sent it to the editor of the Naval Base Newsletter.  A few days later I received a copy with my piece in it and a request for more.  Wow!  I was a writer.  No, not yet.

I worked hard to improve my writing, joined writer’s groups and courses and thought I was ready to write the novel.  There are three in the drawer which are unpublished but proof that I can stay the course.  A degree of success came in articles published in various magazines, a few short stories read on local radio then an autobiographical book published in 2003.   But still the novel eluded me.

I live in Shetland and was told the story of a girl from a city in the south of England who married a Shetland man and came to live with him in an isolated croft house.  It was 1946 and life on the islands at that time was very hard.  But she stayed.  I thought about her often and she stuck in my head.  I began to weave stories around her and realised I had a story to write.

After much planning and hours spent at the keyboard of my computer I thought the book I had written was as good as I could get it, so I packed it up and sent it off to a publisher.  It came back with the regulation rejection slip so I sent it out again . . . and again.  Each time it came home I looked to see where I could improve it.

Eventually my submission landed on the desk of someone at Robert Hale Ltd and a few days later I received an email asking for the whole typescript.  A brand new copy was sent off and, fingers crossed, I waited.  Imagine my delight when they said they would like to publish.  I was ecstatic.  Publication of my book, Catherine of Deepdale, had been my dream, but dreams need help to make them come true and I am grateful to all at Robert Hale who have help me do that.

Millie Vigor

Catherine of Deepdale by Millie Vigor is available now to pre-order with a 30% discount for a limited time only. It will be published by Robert Hale Ltd. on 30 April 2012

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9 thoughts on “Millie Vigor on Sailing Into Publishing

  1. Pingback: Millie to launch ‘Catherine of Deepdale’ in Lerwick | Scottish Island Writers Network

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