Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Ronan Keating & Barack Obama in the same Blog - how do I do it?!


The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that I’ve changed the sub-heading on my blog.
That’s because I’m overjoyed to announce that after three years of rejections, I’ve just signed a with top London literary agency – The Marsh Agency.
My novel is now as I speak, in the hands of several large publishing houses (well it would be if they had hands!) It’s in the hands (or more likely lying on the desk at the bottom of a pile of other manuscripts) of some lovely editors waiting for them to read, and consider it for their company’s future publication schedule. So fingers crossed...I’ll be keeping you updated.

I promised when I started this blog that one day I’d tell you the story of how I began writing – so today with everything good with the world (Congratulations to Barack Obama!) seems like a good a day to do so as any!

It all started one day back in 2002 when I was in WH Smith browsing for a fitness magazine, I couldn’t find it on the shelf so I had to ask one of the assistants to go and look for me. While she was gone I had a bit of a browse around and happened to pick up Ronan Keating’s new CD from a display in the middle of the shop. I knew I liked a couple of the songs on the album, and so I decided to buy it, along with my magazine. When I got home I played the album, and then I found I kept playing it over and over again.
From that moment on, I was completely and utterly hooked.

Back then I used to use Ronan's official website to keep up with all his gossip and news. One day – about six years ago now – I had been away on a training course, and I posted a message on his forum about playing Ronan’s music while I’d been away staying on my own in a hotel. Another girl responded – called Karen, and we began a silly (late night if I remember rightly) conversation on the forum about what might happen if Ronan were staying in the same hotel as you. Over time this began to develop into a little story, to which we kept adding new installments every night, until we realised that more and more people were logging on to the message board just to find out what happened next. It sounds incredibly bizarre now I know, but its true – the website often used to crash because there were that many people waiting for their nightly fix! Fans from around the world would wait impatiently until I got in from work at night (I worked in fitness then and often worked evenings.) demanding their next fix of the the story!This went on for some months until eventually we’d run out of things for Ronan to do, and so we had to bring the story to an end.
We then had requests to make the story into a proper book – so we decided to do it for charity. I collated with help from a few other people (To whom I will always be eternally grateful) all the many instalments, edited them into a novel, and then sold email & disc copies of the story to anyone who wanted one.

I then (on my own this time.) went on to write two more novel length stories featuring Ronan along the same lines – posting them on the message board in instalments every night – then selling them at the end as a complete novel on disc or email attachment with the proceeds going to charity.

So something that started out as just a bit of silly late night banter, in total raised over £1000 for Ronan’s cancer charity – The Marie Keating Foundation; brought me together with one of my best friends – Karen, the girl from Glasgow I wrote the first story with; and made me realise that writing was not only something that I really enjoyed doing, but something that other people seemed to enjoy reading too.

I then had a go at writing a couple of ‘proper’ novels, before the idea for
‘You had me at ...Ronan Keating.’ came along. (Check out my website if you’d like to know more about it.) And although Ronan doesn’t feature in the novel, him singing the theme from Notting Hill “When you say nothing at all.” plays a key part at the end.

Ronan has kindly consented to his name being used in the title, and Richard Curtis and ‘Working Title’ productions have said they thought the idea to be an excellent one for a romantic comedy.

So that bit of late night banter on a website six years ago, is now turning into for me, what could be my future career…

Until the next time,
A x

Oh I keep forgetting to mention you can always leave me a comment on this blog. You don’t have to have a blogger account to do so. It would be lovely to hear from some of you occasionally, who I know read my ramblings … ;-)


Anonymous said...

hello hun...
just been reading this and also read yr msg a little earlier on the RK msg board

Just wanted to say congratulations and wish you all the best!!
Suzy x

Ali said...

Thanks Suzy - appreciate that.
And thanks for leaving a comment too - drop back again sometime won't you? :-)

Anonymous said...

such fab memories Ali,loved the stories on the forum.
delighted we might get a book on the shelves written by you,will cross everything for you
hope you are well
Dawn x

Ali said...

They were fun - if a little bit manic - times ;-)that's for sure.
Thanks for your good wishes - I'll keep you updated on the novel's progress :-)

Anonymous said...

hehe only just catching up on ur blogs (u know what i'm like with keepin track these days)

Anyhoo still cannae believe that late night banter has come this far for u - well dun sis - i'm proud of ye!!! (but when ur sittin on phil n fern's sofa doin a chat about how u started writing - plz call me maude or ethel - cant mind who i was!!!!) hahaha :)

Kaz. xx

Ali said...

No way, you'll get your full name in the credits when that day eventually comes ;-)