LUCY BROOKE the Hedon woman who got through to the finals of ITV’s This Morning ‘Be a Best Seller’ writing competition is “an accomplished writer” according to celebrity judge Caroline Quentin. Lucy was told by the TV star “your writing is very, very good!”
The praise for Lucy’s novel Static did not end there, competition judge Marian Keyes, one of Ireland’s most successful novelists having sold some 22 million copies of her books, said later “Lucy you’re a very talented writer, your structure was ambitious and assured and the different voices convincing and intriguing.” Now in contact with Lucy on Twitter the established author urged: “Please keep the faith and please continue writing.”
The ITV ‘Be a Best Seller’ writing competition launched on the 4th November 2014 sought to find wannabe authors who might be the ‘next JK Rowling or EL James’. Thirty-nine year old Lucy has always written for pleasure but with the eventual dream of getting published, so she hoped the competition might be an opportunity to get her novel looked at by professionals in the publishing industry. She had to submit the first 3,000 words of her novel and a plot synopsis within ten days of the competition opening.
Over 4,000 other aspiring authors entered the competition tempted by the prize of wining a place on one of the UK’s most successful writing courses (for six months) and representation by top Literary Agency Curtis Brown. Lucy was absolutely gob-smacked to receive a phone call from ITV inviting her to the finals in London last week.
To be invited to the finals is a remarkable achievement! The competition judges did not know anything about the five selected finalists other than the written work they submitted – and the other four finalists on paper all had a lot more experience than Lucy; two had studied creative writing at university for three years, one was an established writer and sub-editor with a national newspaper, the other was a professional copywriter. This puts Lucy’s appearance as a finalist in context, and reveals just what an amazing achievement her selection was, and must say lots about the quality of her writing.
In preparation for the finals Lucy had to submit some video footage of herself, where she lived and worked, so boyfriend Pete McEwan had to become Steven Spielberg for the weekend! See the results here: Be a Best Seller – Lucy.
The trip to London to meet the This Morning presenters Phillip Schofield and Amanda Holden took place on the Wednesday followed by The Final on the Thursday.
“It’s all been like a bizarre, mad dream! I’m just starting to come back down to Earth now.” said Lucy on Saturday when back in Hedon “Since receiving the call from ITV I’ve been running on adrenaline. I’ve been feeling ill with nerves, experiencing fear and elation all in one.
“The This Morning studio was amazing and I had my own make-up artist. Jools Holland was performing in the studio and the staff kindly invited me to watch him live. Lewis Hamilton was also doing a spot and was there with his entourage of handlers.
“The whole experience has been fantastic and what an opportunity I’ve now got. I’ve started novels before but never managed to finish them, but being a finalist in such a prestigious competition and getting such positive feedback has given me the boost and prompt I need to get the book finished. I started the book in May and I’m giving myself until next May 2015 to get the first draft finished. I’m also 40 next May too – so I won’t forget that deadline!”
So what is the book Static about? And what inspired you to start the book? Lucy explains:
“It’s a historical novel set in three different time frames 1796, 1987 and the present day. It’s about the discovery of a Bronze Age ritual relic by ditch cutters in the 18th century in a small market town called Ridgemarr, and the turmoil it brings to the inhabitants.
“It deals with themes such as the way we think we can control nature nowadays yet we still have a primal need for superstition, there is a subplot with an awful couple who run a selling scheme, which I think is just a modern ‘appeasement of the gods’ thing. You know, take this pill and you will be thin and rich! And, of course, it deals with the joys and trials of living in a small community.
“This particular novel was inspired by the Roos Carr Men figures discovered in 1836. The figures just fascinated me, I actually had a photo of one of the figures on a wall, but the glaring eyes were scary so I took it down. I studied history and archaeology and my dissertation at University was about the pre-history of Holderness. I like to think of history as peeling back the layers to get at what’s underneath.
“I’ve always written since I was tiny, I’ve started 3 or 4 novels but never finished them. This would have been my last chance to write a book, but perhaps now it’s my best chance. It’s helped moving to live in The Chimes (Lucy’s house – Ed), it’s a lovely little Georgian place which has given me the space and atmosphere in which to write. In the winter I like nothing better than to sit by a glowing fireside with my pencil and rubber and write.
“I’ve completed 12,000 words already, and know where I’m going with the book, but not sure about certain details of the various plot twists and turns yet.”
The Hedon Blog is delighted to bring you this good and inspiring news about Lucy Brooke’s success in the competition. Plot twists and turns might be occupying Lucy’s spare time now, but we love and applaud the fact that her ‘last chance’ to write the book Static has now ‘twisted and turned’ into her ‘best chance’.
We are sure that readers will want regular updates on progress with the book and Lucy has said she will keep the Blog informed; and perhaps she will entice readers with some snippets in the future!? Literary Agency Curtis Brown are also expected to get in touch at some point to discuss the book with Lucy.
Read more about Lucy Brooke and Static in this week’s Holderness Gazette. She is also going to be interviewed by Writing magazine for an article and we feel other local media will want to speak to her too.