Debut author AK Leigh. Photo Contributed
Debut author AK Leigh. Photo Contributed Contributed

WriteFest got ball rolling for new author

DEBUT author AK Leigh wants to pinch herself every time she sees the latest promotion for her romantic suspense novel, See Her Run.

The novel was launched on February 26, after the Ipswich author scored a direct publishing contract through WriteFest interviews last year.

"The best thing I ever did was apply for the interview with Pan Macmillan Australia commissioning editor Haylee Nash at WriteFest," she said. "I wasn't confident about scoring an interview, but I thought: 'Why not?'

"When (WriteFest director) Sandy Curtis sent me an email, saying I'd been granted an interview, I had to read it three times, then get my husband to read it, just to make sure."

Leigh, who will return to Bundaberg for this year's WriteFest on May 16 and 17, said she loved the people she has met and the skills she has gained through Bundaberg's annual writing event.

"This will be my third WriteFest in a row. I attended the masterclass in 2013 and had the interview with Haylee in 2014. I can't wait to see what WriteFest 2015 brings," she said.

Ms Leigh's romantic suspense is a personal story for her, as it deals with the fallout of escaping an abusive relationship, something she has experienced.

"I wanted to show women coming out of similar experiences that there was a way to move through the trust issues and find love again," Leigh said.

Other authors have gained publication thanks to vital contacts made at WriteFest.

This includes authors living as far away as Brisbane and Melbourne, who make the annual trek to Bundaberg each year.

WriteFest director Sandy Curtis said gaining a book contract was like the Holy Grail of publishing for most aspiring writers.

"There are very few opportunities, outside our capital cities, for authors to sit down face-to-face with an editor or publisher and discuss their manuscript, with the possibility of that discussion leading to a book contract," Mrs Curtis said.

This year's WriteFest event, on May 16 and 17, features a line-up of nine speakers, published authors from all genres and all walks of life, in addition to editors.