Guest post – Isabel Jackson

Her Sister's Gift

I’m pleased to share a guest post by Isabel Jackson today. Isabel was runner -up in The Sunday Mail Fiction Competition last year. Her prize was to have her book, Her Sister’s Gift, published as an e-book. However, it has been so well received that the publishers Black and White have decided to publish in paperback too. It will be on the shelves tomorrow – 18th February. You can order online here where the Kindle price is currently only 59p! Over to Isabel who is explaining how her book came to be published.

When I retired, I decided to write a novel based on my grandparents’ very dramatic lives. Since it was a hobby project for me I did not work on it every day so it took three years to research, reflect, compose and redraft. I read it over and wondered – could this appeal to a wider readership? One day in January 2015, I sat down at the computer to look up publishers’ websites to find out how to approach them with my novel. I had recently read a book by a writer, based around family and social history, in a similar vein to what I had written, which had been published by Black&White publishers so I thought I would look there first.

When I opened up their website, on their home page they were advertising The Sunday Mail Fiction Competition. Reading through the requirements, I realised what I had written ticked every box! The story should appeal to women, have a Scottish flavour and be written by an unpublished author. I reflected over it for a day or two, re read the first three chapters, which were required by the end of the month, and decided to go ahead.

In April I received an email requesting that I send them the complete manuscript. And in early May I heard I was to be offered the runner up prize of having my novel published as an ebook! I was over the moon! You hear so many stories of authors trailing round publisher after publisher to get their work published. I feel very fortunate that I looked up that website in time to catch this competition.

Since then there have been newspaper interviews, radio interviews, a photo shoot, requests for blogger posts….and Black & White have decided to publish it as a paperback with a full book launch! Sometimes it still feels quite unreal. Thank you Sunday Mail and Black &White for putting your trust in me and “Her Sister’s Gift”!

From the back of the book

While her mother is at home giving birth, eleven-year-old Isa must look after her younger siblings, but when her little sister is killed in an accident on a trainline she carries the guilt through the rest of her life. As Isa grows up, more tragedy strikes: her mother dies of a broken heart after giving birth to a stillborn son, and her father finds solace in heavy drinking. Though Isa finds satisfaction in domestic service for an aristocratic family in London, when her father returns home from the First World War paralysed and suffering memory loss, she must return home to take care of her family once more. Yet there is only so much Isa can endure over the years, and discovering her husband’s affair is the final straw. Believing she has failed as a sister, a daughter, a wife and a mother, she makes an irrevocable decision…but will she realise in time that her troubled past can also give her the strength to carry on?

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