How I Got Published by Amanda Brittany

I’m delighted to present another guest post: How I Got Published by Amanda Brittany. Amanda’s publication story is one of determination after a terrible shock.

After Amanda’s piece, I pop back with news from Bay Tales and the Ondaatje Prize, plus a review for a book I’d recommend for writers.

How I Got Published by Amanda Brittany

My love of writing comes from a very early love of reading, and a rather crazy imagination. As a child I would make up stories for my younger sister. We had bunk beds, and she would ask me to tell her stories until she fell asleep.

Putting those stories onto paper was trickier, as I was decidedly average at school. I managed to pass my English ‘O’ Level, but I was nowhere near equipped to write novels at that time in my life.

Over the years I did a psychology course – a keen interest of mine, and dabbled a bit with writing, publishing a non-fiction book in 1997, but that’s as far as I got until I was in a serious car crash in 2006. I realised I was lucky to still be here, and the shock was the catalyst: If I was going to write fiction, I needed to do everything possibly to try to make it happen.

I studied for a creative writing diploma, and literature degree with the Open University. I’m not saying every writer needs to do something like this – many writers have written amazing stories and novels without attending courses, but for me, it worked. I had an amazing tutor for creative writing, and owe a lot to him. Especially to edit, edit, edit, accept constructive criticism – and develop the skin of a rhino.

In 2008, I sent a story to My Weekly, and later they bought it! I remember getting the email, and racing up the garden to where my husband was working, squealing, – far too excited – he thought we’d won the lottery – I felt like I had.

The story they bought was a twisty story, and I loved writing it – and over the following years I had over 200 stories published in magazines – my favourite genre being twisty thrillers.

In 2010 I wrote a paranormal rom-com that was considered by the Darley Anderson Agency, but wasn’t taken on. In 2017, the twist for Her Last Lie came to me quite out of the blue. I knew I had to write it. In fact, I wrote the first draft in two months. I sent it to HQ Digital, part of Harper Collins Publishers, and heard back from them quickly, asking if they could call me. I honestly never dreamed they were going to offer to publish my book, so was completely overwhelmed when they said they would. Since then, I’ve had three more books published with HQ, Tell the Truth, Traces of Her and I Lie in Wait, and my fifth psychological crime thriller is due out in October 2021. I have also co-written two psychological thrillers with Karen Clarke The Secret Sister and The Perfect Nanny. My debut Her Last Lie has raised £8500 for Cancer Research UK from my eBook royalties, a figure that keeps on growing. That book has also been optioned for film.



TWITTER: @amandajbrittany


I hope you enjoyed How I Got Published by Amanda Brittany. Here are links to previous authors who have written their Publication Journey stories for the blog:

Penny Batchelor

Alice Castle

Helen Cooper

Chris Curran

Jackie Baldwin

Anne Coates


How I Got Published

One thing writers like doing is swapping tales of how we got published. I love featuring other writers’ stories here.

This month crime writer Alice Castle invited me onto her blog to tell my publication story. You can read my article here.

Bay Tales is now free!

The team that kept our spirits up last year with Virtual Noir at the Bar (live readings by crime writers, including me) has now made the content of their wonderful Bay Tales website entirely free to access.

  • Fiction – short stories, samples, previews and full length novels from the most exciting names in fiction.
  • Non-fiction – interviews, articles, book & movie reviews, author insights and more.
  • Recordings – of all available Virtual Noir at the Bar and Bay Tales shows.
  • Reviews – of some of the best books around.

They’ve even published my light-hearted article on crime genres. You can read it here.

Please check out their website not only to read the great content but to find out about their latest live events.

Ondaatje Prize

This year’s Ondaatje Prize has been won by my university tutor, Ruth Gilligan, with her wonderful novel, The Butchers. It was one of my favourite reads last year. You can see my review here.

The Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize is an annual literary award given by the Royal Society of Literature. The £10,000 award is for a work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry that evokes the “spirit of a place”, and is written by someone who is a citizen of or who has been resident in the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland.

A Book Review

Story Structure Basics: How to write better books by learning from the movies (Screenwriting Tricks For Authors (and Screenwriters!) Book 1) by Alexandra Sokoloff

This is a must-read for beginner and experienced writers alike. I’ve learnt so much about how to structure plot to keep the reader’s interest. The perfect book for anyone who wants to know about Inciting Incidents, Sequences, Act and Midpoint Climaxes, Antagonists, Allies, Mentors, Ghosts, Plants/Reveals, Ticking Clocks, Central Questions, Set Pieces and More.

Easy to read, fast paced and humorous, it illustrates the various structural steps with many examples from well-known films.

I thank Penny Bachelor and Louise Mumford for recommending this book at their recent talk for the Stay at Home Literary Festival.

By Rachel Sargeant

Rachel Sargeant is a British author. Under the name Rae Sargeant, she writes the Gleveham Killers Suspense series, published by Hobeck Books. The first title is Her Deadly Friend. Her titles as Rachel Sargeant, with HarperCollins, are: The Roommates, a psychological thriller set in a university during freshers' week; The Good Teacher, a detective mystery, featuring DC Pippa “Agatha” Adams, and The Perfect Neighbours, a psychological thriller set in Germany. Rachel grew up in Lincolnshire, studied at Aberystwyth University, spent several years living in Germany and now lives in Gloucestershire with her family. She holds a PhD from the University of Birmingham.

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