‘It’s been thirty years since Anna’s sister disappeared.
Anna’s never stopped missing her.’
Such is the premise for the debut novel The Missing Girl from Jenny Quintana, published by Mantle Books on 11th January 2018. Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to read Jenny’s book yet, but I do have a copy… so I will get to it…SO MANY BOOK!!!! ( #bloggerproblems 🙂 )
Instead I asked Jenny if she would join me today as my guest and *phew* she agreed!!
Jenny has written a post about motivation for the New Year. I think there is something here for all of us to absorb into our routines…
‘If I wanted to achieve my dream I had to give myself permission to make writing as important as the other parts of my life.’
I love that quote from Jenny…..please do read on for more inspiring words..
How to Motivate Yourself this New Year
by Jenny Quintana
For many years, I had the same New Year’s resolution: to finish my novel and become a published writer.
Like many people who have goals at New Year, I began well, but tailed off. I wrote short stories, began a novel, gave it up, started another, stopped writing for long periods of time. I told myself the reason I wasn’t writing was because of the pressures of work, money and family life. All of that was true, but I also knew I was making excuses. I lost confidence and drive.
So how did I finally motivate myself?
One year, I realised if I wanted to achieve my dream I had to give myself permission to make writing as important as the other parts of my life.
That decision, to change the way I looked at things, was the key to what happened next. It was 2014. At the start of the year, I began a new novel. This I vowed was the one that was going to be published.
At the time, I was working as a freelance ELT writer. Every day, I would do the required work and then turn to my novel. I decided to do things the other way around. I wrote a section of my novel first. Then I did the ELT work. I knew I had to complete the work however long it took otherwise I wouldn’t get paid! Not everyone is a freelancer so not everyone can do that, but there are other ways to prioritise – it’s a question of finding hours for writing which you would usually fill with something else.
Putting yourself in situations which force you to focus on your goal can also motivate. That same year, I was accepted on a creative writing course in London. It meant I was committed to writing a certain number of words for the workshops. Not only that I met like-minded people. In any activity, finding people who have the same aims keeps you on track.
One of the problems of working on any long project is how to keep going. I gave myself smaller targets along the way and when I achieved them, I rewarded myself. This might be completing a chapter, a draft, a second draft, or further along the line, getting an agent, a publisher, a title, a cover, the published book. In my case the reward was a glass (or bottle) of prosecco or champagne depending on how big the victory!
It was certainly a long time between making that decision in 2014 and achieving my dream in 2017 when The Missing Girl was published. But it happened and as I tell myself if I hadn’t put in the hard work, the time would have passed anyway.
Now in 2018, I’m setting new goals: to complete my second novel and to start planning my third. I’m going to keep motivated by keeping that end goal in sight, prioritising, socialising with other writers and rewarding myself along the way.
The Missing Girl is described as ‘a powerful and evocative debut, perfect for readers of Joanna Cannon and Kate Hamer.’
Here’s what the back of the book says:
When Anna Flores’ adored older sister goes missing as a teenager, Anna copes by disappearing too, just as soon as she can: running as far away from her family as possible, and eventually building a life for herself abroad.
Thirty years later, the death of her mother finally forces Anna to return home. Tasked with sorting through her mother’s possessions, she begins to confront not just her mother’s death, but also the huge hole Gabriella’s disappearance left in her life – and finds herself asking a question she’s not allowed herself to ask for years: what really happened to her sister?
Purchase Link ~ The Missing Girl
About Jenny Quintana:
Jenny Quintana grew up in Essex and Berkshire, before studying English Literature in London. She has taught in London, Seville and Athens and has also written books for teaching English as a foreign language, alongside her fiction book The Missing Girl. She is a graduate of the Curtis Brown Creative writing course.
She now lives with her family in Berkshire.
Twitter ~ @jennyquintana95