Wednesday 23 March 2011

I Got Through To The ABNA Quarter-Finals!

I just found out last night that I've made it through to the quarter-final stage of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award!

Ravensborough is my young adult novel, and the first book that I completed. It's very special to me. My husband (who is a journalist and editor) had read through it and liked it, but I still wasn't sure that it was good enough to submit to agents and publishers. So ABNA seemed like a good way to get some constructive feedback.

They took 5,000 entries in the YA category, and in the first round they narrowed the field to 1,000 entries. I was chuffed to get through to the second round. When I found out that I made it through the second round, where they allowed only 250 of the 1,000 to go through, I was completely overwhelmed.

The best thing was the reviews I got. Two Vine reviewers read over my work, and gave me comments. Their comments were super-nice, and they seemed to really enjoy my story. To get praise from people who aren't worried about the repercussions of hurting my feelings is fantastic.

 The big thing now is that Publishers Weekly is going to look at my manuscript! I can't believe it. I'm really nervous about it, but I've got a month to psyche myself up for it I suppose. :)


  1. Best of luck to you! My novel "Case Study" is in the General Fiction category. I also live in Dublin, but Dublin, Pennsylvania. :) What's your book about?

  2. Good luck to you too!

    I'm really bad at summing up my book, so here's my pitch! And thank you so much for following me. There's something a bit pitiful about having nobody in your list, it's like being the last one picked for teams in gym class!

    Moving in with your mother’s new partner is never going to be easy, especially when it means leaving a country you love. Nevertheless, Scarlett packs her bags and leaves her boyfriend, her friends and her old life behind to move to Ravensborough, a city on the island of Avalonia.
    However, life is complicated in Ravensborough. The city is divided, as a simmering – often violent – conflict runs between those who believe in magic (Pagans), and those who don’t (Rationalists). For the most part, Pagans keep to their areas and Rationalists stick to theirs with the army keeping the peace.
    Scarlett’s step-father Rupert is firmly Rationalist, and disapproves of Pagans of all kinds. Scarlett lives in a Rationalist area and goes to a Rationalist school – but she befriends some Pagans, and doesn’t see what all the fuss is about. She may be open-minded but, if her Rationalist friends find out about her other life, she’ll be ostracised. And to make things even more complicated, she finds herself falling for Gethan, a Pagan outcast, despite having a boyfriend back home. Scarlett is torn between two different worlds in Avalonia and forced to make a choice, even as she pines for the simple life she left behind.
    On one level, Ravensborough is a story that’s repeated throughout history: the danger and violence that can happen when differences between people create divides, and how this affects ordinary people. However, it’s also a story of a young woman forced to change, make hard choices, and stand up to society. While Ravensborough is fantasy, the author drew on her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in history to help create the world, as well as her experiences of growing up in Ireland, an island that has seen its fair share of religious sectarianism.

  3. Congrats for Ravensborough! Good luck all the way through.

  4. Congrats! Found your blog over at ABNA. MIne is if you want to come visit!

  5. Ooh, sounds like an intriguing concept, Christine. I bet with your background as you described it, you built a very three-dimensional world.