‘There was adrenaline, there were sleepless nights and there was guilt but there was also pure joy – doing what I loved and meeting the most amazing people en route.’
Today Irish Writer Rose Servitova joins us with a post about her experiences as a self-published author. She writes about the pressures and stress, the pure frustration and of course the pride involved in achieving success.
Rose also reveals her plans for her next novel so I do hope you enjoy!!
by Rose Servitova
In September 2017, I found myself on a flight to Bath, UK (thanks to the Irish Arts Council Travel & Training Bursary) to immerse myself in more Austen by attending a lecture at the Jane Austen Festival. My debut novel, The Longbourn Letters – The Correspondence between Mr Collins & Mr Bennet, had exceeded everyone’s expectations and been read by more than just my mother. In fact, it received international acclaim with glowing, mostly 5-star reviews.
Being self-published, however, it was I who was doing all the marketing, pushing, pleading and generally harassing of bloggers and would-be readers. I was also curating, on a voluntary basis, a successful six-month long Jane Austen bicentenary celebration in my native Limerick, besides working full-time for a charity and raising a husband, a three year-old and a six year-old. There was adrenaline, there were sleepless nights and there was guilt but there was also pure joy – doing what I loved and meeting the most amazing people en route.
As soon as my book was published, I was strongly urged by people, who I felt knew better than me, to get that second novel out straight away. The pressure ‘was on’, in a pressurized environment, on someone who was really feeling the pressure. So instead of relaxing on a holiday to my husband’s country (to visit his family) with him and our two kids, I said I could not leave, they would have to go without me. I was too busy, in my time off work, with festival business and I also needed to use that time to start my second novel. Later, I realised I should have joined them. I should have switched off and spent time with the people I love and nothing would have aided the creative side of my brain more.
I waited until my stress levels peaked and I was up on the scrap-heap to begin. I availed of the very generous offer of a wonderful, creative lady to spend a week in her beautiful cottage in Kerry while they were overseas and I began writing. Because my time off work was so limited, I genuinely expected myself to manifest the draft of a book by the end of that week. More pressure!!!!. Thus began the humorous adventures of Captain McCarthan (think Bertie Wooster on a horse). The story, however, wasn’t working and although I beat out lots of words during that week, it all felt wrong.
As I sat on that flight to Bath last September, exhausted and anxious, I had the lightbulb moment as to what would fix my story – I would have to give the horse dialogue! I knew in my heart that this was the solution but I also knew that it would be best for me to step away from Captain McCarthan and his talking horse and take some seriously deep breaths in Bath. Who would take this ‘Mr Ed’ type story seriously, who would take me seriously – certainly not our friends at the Pulitzer Prize!
Immersing myself in Jane Austen’s life in Bath was exactly what I needed. I walked in slow-motion, hugging trees that might have been around in Austen’s time, placing my feet ever so mindfully on the cobbles she must have stood on and generally being a total weirdo for 48 hours. Relaxed, rejuvenated and reconnected with Austen, I sat cheerfully on the flight home and decided that I’d park Captain McCarthan and his talking horse, perhaps, to return to them someday. Instead, I would act on a decision I made while at that Jane Austen lecture (although I wondered at my audacity). I would complete one of Jane Austen’s unfinished novels. I would continue where she had left off. I would write The Watsons.
You can read about The Longbourn Letters below, with some additional details on Rose and where to find out more…
Purchase Link ~ The Longbourn Letters
Rose Servitova ~ The Longbourn Letters
‘Eager to know what happened to all in ‘Pride & Prejudice’, once it’s hero & heroine had their happy ending, I decided to lend a quill to my two favourite characters, Mr Collins and Mr Bennet, and let them reveal all through their written correspondence. What emerged was a collection of letters, written over a seven year period, reflecting the inner workings of both men and their observations on the lives of others.’
“Did I mention to you that he walks an imaginary dog, our Reverend Green? No one has had the heart to tell him that Spot has been dead these twelve years. He even believes that Spot has sired my current litter of pups so, as a kindly gesture, I offered him to take any one of his choosing believing the company of a real animal may be of benefit to him but he refused, stating most firmly, that he cannot be responsible for all that Spot begets.” – Mr Bennet
Rose Servitova is an award winning Irish writer whose work has been published in various literary journals and newspapers. When she’s not writing, she works as a job coach for people with special needs and is also involved in organising Limerick’s Jane Austen Bicentenary Festival. Rose lives in County Limerick with her husband and two children.
The Longbourn Letters is her first novel.
You can read more about Rose in a previous Q & A HERE
Twitter ~ @roseservitova