Novel writing course graduate Anne Harré is one of two winners of this year’s Hatchette and New Zealand Society of Authors’ mentorship programme. She was thrilled just to be among the six shortlisted: "I felt like an Oscar contender!"
When you found out you were also one of the two winners, what was it like?
To start with, the reality was terrifying. All of a sudden I was being taken seriously. I freaked out, had a brilliant chat with Mandy [Hager] and she made me realize it was all going to be OK.
The reality is more time in front of a screen, writing, re-writing, re-working. As Mandy said to me, this is the start of a dialogue between you (the writer) and the editor. They want to know you’re open to discussion and you’re not so precious that you won’t listen to them.
I believe good editors are trying to get the best out of you and your work. Ultimately, they also want the reader to have the best reading experience possible. You have to trust your editor understands this. In my case, I think she knows the genre, the market and the publishing possibilities of the work.
I’ve worked a bit in the book trade (publishing, editing, retail) and understand it’s an incredibly long process. You don’t get your hand held; you just have to get on with it. I’ve imposed my own deadlines, but that’s to keep myself moving.
What are you hoping will come from it?
Well, obviously publication!! But they have categorically said they cannot guarantee that. At the very least, I will end up with a manuscript in a better state than it was at the beginning of the process.
You did Mandy's course last year-what were the key things you gained from that?
A completed, full-length, first draft manuscript.
Meeting some great people. Fellow students who were honest, vulnerable, and generous with their critiquing.
Understanding more about the process. Mandy’s teaching was fantastic. She’s a very clear thinker, and very clear in her expectations. I would say to anyone that if they want to learn about process, and actually accomplish something, take Mandy’s course.
How does the mentorship fit with your hopes for writing in the future?
If things work, in that I get this thing published, the mentorship is potentially an extraordinary springboard. The mere fact Hachette has seen my name is a bonus in my opinion.
As far as my writing future is concerned, I’d like to keep doing what I’m doing, and if I’m published then that’s fantastic.
Great riches and wealth?? Yeah right!! No one makes any money.