We all loved April's submission and are delighted that Hive has now been published. We wish it the best of luck.
Climate change has led to food shortages and civil unrest.
Pollinating insects are in steep decline.
My Journey to Publication
For the longest time I dreamed of becoming a published author. Imagine… walking into a bookshop and seeing your book on the shelves. Maybe one day taking a seat on a train and noticing that the person opposite is reading a copy of your book…
I studied for an MA in Creative Writing. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I had a few short stories published. I sent out novels to competitions and agents and had a lot of passes. I put the novels quietly under my bed and started the next thing. I didn’t stop dreaming.
In 2018 I had an idea for something very strange. Like nothing I’d ever written before, it was as though my anxieties about climate change and species decline had condensed into a not-too distant future with characters I could see and hear – a plot – a novel – I grabbed my laptop and opened a new file. I wrote the first draft of Hive more quickly than I’d ever written anything before. Once I’d finished the edits I started to submit to agents. This time it was different – there was a lot of interest and some agents asked to see the full manuscript (I tried not to get my hopes up). I had some amazing editorial advice from an agent who later passed, but the re-write made it a much stronger book. It was 2019. I carried on submitting to agents and competitions and had a lot of passes and then - the world stopped.
During those strange days at the start of the pandemic my perspective changed. I couldn’t read, I wasn’t thinking about writing. Life felt fragile. On my daily dog walks I paid more attention to the natural world I’d been writing about. Out of the blue I had an email from the Exeter Novel Prize – Hive had been longlisted. Then, the day before the first lockdown began, I found out that I’d been shortlisted. The judge was Broo Doherty and her feedback gave me a huge confidence boost. I started to believe that perhaps, this time... I began to submit again, however despite the positive comments and interest in my novel it seemed that the subject matter wasn’t what agents and small publishers were looking for during a global pandemic. Except – the book seemed to have struck a chord with readers - I really wasn’t ready to let it go. I started looking at options for self-publishing.
But then! Hive was accepted for publication by The Book Guild and in 2021 I had the pleasure of working with the wonderful team who got it ready for publication. It still doesn’t feel quite real, seeing my book in the bookshop window, in other people’s photos on Instagram and Twitter. I have to pinch myself every time.
Now that Hive is out in the world my imagination has once again galloped on ahead. Who will I cast in the film? I’m holding out for George Clooney. There’s no harm in dreaming.
April Doyle’s debut novel, Hive, is published by The Book Guild (ISBN: 978-1913913779) available in paperback and as an e-book on Amazon at Waterstones and at Hive
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