Thursday, 26 May 2011

People's Book Prize

Still on the subject of competitions and motivation, it was a real boost to see the comments from readers who voted for The Woman Before Me to win the People's Book Prize. Thanks to all who did!

Reader Comments
could not put this book down brilliant writing desperate for the truth in a complicated web of a troubled woman
What a fantastic read. A friend leant it to me and I have to say it is not the type of book I would usually read (normally I just like an easy to read romance) however I thought I would give it a go well, I couldn't put it down and finished it in less than 3 days a super book and I look forward to Ruth's next one.
Having just got back into reading regularly I found "The Woman Before Me" excellent, powerful & enthralling. I enjoyed every page & look forward to Ruth's 2nd novel.
Ruth Dugdall is brilliant. Please, please read her
Wonderful twist! Keeps you guessing to the end!
Couldn't put it down.
Great read, Well thought plot & well defined charaters. A readable and enticing story. I'm enjoying the local Suffolk setting.
best book i have read in a long time !!
Not only exciting and scary but beautifully written.
Great read
Wonderful story and brilliant writing
This book reads true. Great writing, riveting story, characters and dialogue are believable.
The twist is intense. A must read for fans of the genre!!!!!
a stimulating book
Brilliant, Ruthie!
I vote for this book
Great to see this doing so well!
I vote for this book for the peoples book award!
A great read with one almighty twist!
Excellent read and set around where I live so an added interest
excellent book
I didn't see the twist coming.
Excellent book. Really cant wait till the next book!!
Marvellous rollocking read. Near put the wind up my sales I can tell you
Really enjoyed this book, even more than her previous one. Looking forward to the next.
A joy to read. Well thought out and written thriller by an exciting new author. Look forward to reading more in the future.
A good read!
Great novel with absorbing characters. A very tense read.
A compelling read with a real surprise in the end! Looking forward to the next book already!
A fantastic read.
Extremely accomplished. I was unable to put this book down and read it in one setting. Sensitively written.
A gripping read right from the start, with lots of twists and turns. Once I started reading I couldn't stop.
Amazingly good. Had me hooked from the first page
Gripping, easy read with a surprising twist at the end.
A great read, with a clever twist
Great story, fluently written. I have recommended this book to others. I can't wait for the next one - is there one on the way? Hope so!
excellent book, couldn't put this down. read it several times too!!
Fantastic book. A real page turner and I couldn't put it down.
An excellent book. Totally absorbing and very thought-provoking.
Beautiful read! Love the voice! ;)
Brilliant read (what I've read sofar - the extract). The MC has a strong voice which is well depicted in the first person writing (even though I'm biased to first person writing). Very recommendable!
This is a wonderful, absorbing book which drew me in from the very first page. A fantastic read, can't recommend it highly enough.
Excellent book, you get to know every character in depth. I couldn't put it down. It gets my vote!
excellent read - pageturner and really good characters
A must read book for all readers wanting to read a great psychological thriller
Tense, page-turner of a book, seen from the unusual point of view of the 'criminal'. This book made me challenge some of my ideas and there is a great twist at the end. I couldn't put it down, would thoroughly recommend it!
A very strong thriller
This story gripped me from the very first page. Ruth Dugnall's writing is sublime - crisp, spare and utterly absorbing.
A compelling read with plenty of depth.
Well done, Ruth!
A brilliant page-turner - a great read.
Very good psychological thriller with an unusual point of view.
Brilliant read. Characters that stay with you long after you have raced through the book.

Tough skin?

I was interested to hear back from fellow writers who had some doubts about competitions as `morale-boosters` for struggling scribes. After all, most people don't win. True, indeed. And whilst I've had a lot of success I've entered lost far more competitions than I've won. But I don't think about those so much... PMA and all that.

Whilst it is true that failure is as inevitable risk with any competition - in fact a probability - there is something very motivating about a deadline (closing date) and if entering the comp does no more than spur the writer to complete and polish an opening chapter or short story, that alone has made it worthwhile.

The thing with writing is that it can be fairly depressing, what with rejections and writer's block and lack of time and then too much time but nothing to write about... in short, anything that works for YOU is good. And if that happens to be imaging wining a trophy (heh, heh) then why not?

Monday, 16 May 2011

Luke Bitmead Bursary

On Friday submissions opened for the 4th Luke Bitmead Writers Bursary. This week we will be posting up blogs from the previous winner's of the Bursary and today is one from 2009 winner Ruth Dugdall:
If you’re reading this, and thinking about entering the Luke Bitmead Bursary, you may be interested to know how winning the bursary changed my life.

All you need is a novel to submit. Mine was The Woman Before Me, a psychological thriller set in coastal Suffolk.

It’s about Rose Wilks, whose life is shattered when her newborn baby Joel is admitted to intensive care. Alongside her in hospital is Emma, who has just given birth to Luke and the two women become friends. Joel dies and Luke is thriving – then tragedy strikes and Rose is the only suspect.

The novel starts with Rose having spent five years behind bars. She is just weeks away from release if she can convince probation officer Cate Austin to recommend parole. As Cate is drawn into Rose’s story she begins to question everything she thought she knew about justice, love and obsession.

The Woman Before Me won the Debut Dagger in 2005, which was a watershed moment for me. Until then I’d thought of writing as a hobby – I’d self-published my first novel (The James Version) but was still working as a Probation Officer. The Dagger gave me the confidence to resign and dedicate myself to writing full-time.

The day after the Dagger awards I signed with a top agent and the novel was going to be submitted to six major publishing houses. I thought I had made it…

But that would have been just too easy. The Woman Before Me didn’t get picked up by the major publishers. They worried that it was ‘not commercial enough’, and that it didn’t fit neatly enough into the ‘crime novel’ box. It went into the bottom drawer and I started to write my third novel, The Sacrificial Man. I have to tell you, this was all pretty soul-destroying and I was really beginning to wonder if I was just kidding myself and I should just go back to work.

Then, in the summer of 2009, I saw the Luke Bitmead bursary advertised in Writer’s News. It seemed perfect for The Woman Before Me. The bursary aims to promote and publish a new writer each year, and was set up in memory of Luke Bitmead, a talented writer who sadly committed suicide.

When I won the award in October 2009 I cried through much of the ceremony, knowing that I would finally see my novel in print. So, after waiting nearly five years, I finally achieved my goal!

Winning the bursary changed everything for me. The Woman Before Me was published in August 2010. Since then it has been short-listed for The New Angle Prize for literature and is through to the finals of The People’s Book Prize. It is already in its third print run, and rising in the Amazon ranks with 33 positive reviews. Rights have been sold in Germany, India, Turkey and large print.

And the good news doesn’t stop there: Legend Press will be publishing The Sacrificial Man, next month! Starting tomorrow I have a whirlwind of book signings, talks and events going right up until Christmas...

I had so many days when I thought this would never happen, and now it has it’s truly wonderful. A real dream-come-true.

To be a writer you have to be tenacious and dogged – having a strong support network helps. I would urge any new writers to consider competitions as a way of getting a foot in the door. The closing date for this year's Luke Bitmead Bursary is August 31st.

So, what are you waiting for?

Good luck!


Monday, 9 May 2011

Caxton Books, Frinton on Sea, Essex event

Thursday 19th May at The Cookery Workshop, 7-9pm

Wine & Canapés with author Ruth Dugdall

The award-winning Felixstowe based author will be talking about her psychological thriller The Woman Before Me, which is based in and around Ipswich. Bryan and Jo Beattie of Coastalfoods will be providing delicious canapés and we will be offering a glass (or two) of wine, orange juice or mineral water.

Tickets are £10 with 10% off the book.

For more information please contact Tel: 01255 851505