Cassandra O’Leary: How I won a book deal!

cassandraoleary_podcastIf winning a book publishing contract sounds like an unreachable dream take it from Cassandra O’Leary, it isn’t. Last year, the Melbourne writer won a global Avon Maze/HarperCollins UK writing contest, We Heart New Talent. The prize? A book publishing contract with digital-first imprint, Avon Maze.

Fast forward to July 2016, and Cassandra’s debut novel, Girl on a Plane, will be released in eBook format this month. Described as a “sexy, sassy, summer read,” Girl on a Plane is a contemporary women’s fiction tale about a feisty Irish flight attentant who meets a gruff Aussie CEO mid-air from Melbourne to London. As sparks fly, it’s clear they’re in for a turbulent journey. Listen to episode #037 to hear all about Cassandra’s journey from contest winner to debut author.

Who is Cassandra?

cassandraoleary_coverCassandra is a romance and women’s fiction writer, communications specialist, avid reader, film and TV fangirl and admirer of pretty, shiny things. In addition to winning a contract with Avon Maze, in 2015 Cassandra was a finalist in the Lone Star writing contest, Northwest Houston Romance Writers of America, and in 2014 she was a finalist in the First Kiss contest run by Romance Writers of Australia.

Cassandra is a mother of two gorgeous, high-energy mini ninjas and wife to a spunky superhero. Living in Melbourne, Australia, she’s also travelled the world. If you want to send her to Italy or Spain on any food or wine tasting ‘research’ trips, that would be splendiferous.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • Cassandra talk through her decision to enter the We Heart New Talent contest and how she won a book publishing contract.
  • Her experiences going through the acquisitions process and choosing a new more “commercial” title.
  • How she dealt with the lengthy waiting times between winning the contest and publishing the novel.
  • The crazy six-day (!) editing deadline she faced after signing the contract, while juggling a part-time job and kids.
  • Her social media promotion approach and launching her author website.
  • How being part of a writing group has helped her with her writing.
  • How writing contests have played a part in overcoming procrastination.

Also mentioned in this episode:

  • Vanessa discusses how she is currently tackling the structural/copy edit of her debut novel, The Florentine Bridge.
  • She touches on how focussing on the structure early on with her agent has helped her with later rounds of editing with her publisher.
  • She discusses the process of working with her editor and accepting or rejecting editorial suggestions.


Connect with Cassandra:

Like what you’re hearing?

Your Creative Life is a love project for us, so we get a real kick out of knowing that it’s reaching so many people across the world. To help us continue to do this, we’d be grateful if you left us a us a rating or review on iTunes – here’s a quick how-to, or shared it amongst your friends on social media.

Speaking of social, come and say hi to me on Twitter

To connect with my co-host Vanessa Carnevale, you can find her at her website, Facebook or over on Twitter.


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