Shute writer publishes her first book

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Self-publishing a book has never been easier but did you ever realise just how many of our most famous authors have self-published their work? This video will count down five famous authors that most people would never have realised did and give you an insight into why they chose to take that route even when they had publishing deals. 

Shute writer publishes her first book

Shute writer publishes her first book 

Katie Ward’s The Pretender gives a new twist to Mark Twain’s ‘The Prince and the Pauper’ Devon based author Katie Ward, who wrote previously for The Midweek Herald, has just released her debut novel. Called ‘The Pretender’, the book was inspired by one of her favourite childhood stories while growing up in Shute, near Axminster. Katie loved reading from an early age and it was on a trip to Scotland where she was given a copy of Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper by her great-aunt for the long journey home. Remaining one of her favourite stories to this day, Katie always wanted the ending to be different. This inspired her to write a modern day version and give it the ending she had always wanted it to have since she was a young child. Katie told the Midweek Herald: “Classic fiction has always been a passion of mine and I felt sad that most young people had never heard of ‘The Prince and the Pauper’ as it is one of my all-time favourites. But realistically, it is too dated to really appeal to the mainstream market. So I decided to modernise it and bring it up to date so I can have the ending I’ve always wanted and I can bring the story to a whole new generation, too.” Katie worked with local artist, Emma Haines, to produce the illustrations for the book which was published on Wednesday (September 12). The Pretender is described as ‘an emotionally intense and compelling story of friendship, love and the strange power of destiny’ and is currently available from Waterstones (ISBN: 9781916430006) Amazon and via Kindle. * While living in Dublin, Katie entered a competition on National Irish TV called ‘Do the Write Thing’. It was run via the Irish daytime show Seoige and O’Shea, affectionately dubbed ‘The Irish Richard and Judy’. Katie was the only non-Irish entrant out of 14 chosen to be featured in an anthology of the same name that reached the Irish Bestsellers List. Later that year, Katie also entered an extract of her first novel into a competition which was being run by Metro Eireann newspaper and judged by MAN Booker Prize winner Roddy Doyle, having her story shortlisted. Visit the interview here: https://www.eastdevon24.co.uk/news/katie-ward-gives-famous-tale-a-new-ending-1-5691888  ​

Author Katie returns to Shute School

Author Katie returns to Shute School

Westcountry author Katie Ward surprised pupils at Shute Primary School when she returned to speak to them about her experiences as a writer and her time as a pupil there. She attended Shute Primary from the age of four and her talent for writing was later spotted by one of the teachers.Katie said: “I was thrilled to be invited back. I have the fondest memories of my time at Shute. When I asked how many of the children wanted to be authors when they grew up, every hand went up so it’s clear I’ll have some competition in years to come.” Katie’s new book, The Pretender, is a modern-day adaptation of the tale of the Prince and the Pauper, set in France. Patrick Germscheid, head of Shute Primary said: “This was a wonderful opportunity for the children to speak to someone who has a long history with Shute School but also to hear about how Katie went about becoming a writer. The children were incredibly enthusiastic and asked a lot of questions.” Visit the interview here: https://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/former-pupil-tells-pupils-about-her-writing-1-5807502 ​

National Irish TV Channel RTE via the Seoige and O’Shea

I lived in Dublin, I entered a short story (that I had originally written when I was 14) into a competition run by National Irish TV Channel RTE via the Seoige and O’Shea show (think the Irish equivalent of Richard and Judy but not married to each other!). They ran a competition called ‘Do the Write Thing’ which was mentored by Irish author Patricia Scanlon. My story, ‘Defying Gravity’ was selected and published in an anthology of the same name which became a top 20 Irish Bestseller. After the success of my short story, I then entered an extract of my novel ‘Red Roses’ (which will be my second published novel) into a competition run by Metro Eireann Newspaper and mentored by MAN Booker Prize winner Roddy Doyle. I was delighted to have my entry shortlisted and to have the chance to meet Roddy in person.​

Author’s top US award

Author’s top US award

Former Shute school pupil’s first novel is given a Book Readers Appreciation Group medallion An East Devon author's debut novel has received a prestigious US award aimed at highlighting excellence in independently published books. Katie Ward, who attended Shute Primary School, near Axminster, won the coveted BRAG Medallion for her story 'The Pretender'The accolade from the Book Readers Appreciation Group came after a rigorous review process looking at the quality of the book's plot, writing style, characterisation, cover, dialogue and copy editing. Only a fraction of submitted books are eligible to receive the award which requires a unanimous verdict by the ten-strong judging panel.Katie said: "I am absolutely delighted. This is one of the most prestigious quality awards an independent author can receive. The quality of my book has always been of paramount importance and to be given an award that recognises that means I achieved exactly what I set out to do."All books that carry the BRAG medallion sticker are guaranteed to be quality assured reads. 'The Pretender' - inspired by Mark Twain's 'The Prince and the Pauper' - is available via Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions. Visit the interview here: https://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/novel-receives-prestigious-us-accolade-1-6039567​

Devon Author Wows Judges to Win Coveted B.R.A.G Medallion Award'

Devon Author Wows Judges to Win Coveted B.R.A.G Medallion Award'

An ex-Tiverton student’s debut novel has been selected to receive a prestigious US award aimed at highlighting excellence in independently published books. Katie Ward’s novel ‘The Pretender’ won the coveted B.R.A.G Medallion Award (Book Readers Appreciation Group) after a rigorous review process looking at the quality of the book’s plot, writing style, characterisation, cover, dialogue and copy editing to name a few. The ten-strong reading panel was then required to give unanimous agreement for the award to be bestowed. Only a fraction of submitted books is eligible to receive the award. Speaking of her achievement, the former East Devon College and Mid Devon Gazette work placement student said: “I am delighted that my debut novel ‘The Pretender’ has received the B.R.A.G Medallion Award. This is one of the most prestigious quality awards an independent author can receive. So, the fact it scored highly in all areas is incredible. The quality of my book has always been of paramount importance to me and to be given an award that recognises that means I achieved exactly what I set out to do.” Originally planning to be a journalist, Katie completed a degree in journalism at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham. After finishing university, Katie decided to move to Dublin where she entered a competition being run on RTE’s Seoige and O’Shea show.The story submitted was one that Katie had originally written when she was 14 when she was inspired by an article in her favourite teen magazine. Katie’s story was selected to be published in an anthology called “Do the Write Thing’ and reached the Irish Bestsellers List. A few months after this, Katie was also shortlisted for a competition run by Metro Eireann and judged by MAN Booker Prize winner Roddy Doyle whom she got to meet. Katie moved back to Devon in 2007 and now lives on the outskirts of Exeter. All books that carry the B.R.A.G medallion sticker are guaranteed to be quality assured reads, giving consumers peace of mind that these books are worth both their time and their money.‘The Pretender’ is available to buy now via Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. Visit the interview here: https://www.devonlive.com/news/local-news/devon-author-wows-judges-win-2846654  ​

The Pretender Awarded Prestigious BRAG Medallion​

In April 2019, my debut novel was awarded the coveted BRAG Medallion award by Indie BRAG which aims to highlight the very best in self-published fiction. As well as being a way to recognise fiction of exceptional quality, the BRAG Medallion also created a database of award-winning books all who proudly display the golden medallion label which signals to the reader that this book is not only worth their time but also their money. It provides quality assurance for readers wanting to find the best self-published titles. The volume of entries to the BRAG Medallion programme is so high that they have been forced to have dedicated windows for submissions to enable them to deal with all the books they receive. Of all the books they review, only 20-25% will be awarded the BRAG Medallion. BRAG stands for the Book Readers Appreciation Group and is if you like a global book club where avid readers sign up to read and review books against the strict criteria. Only those books who receive an extremely high score from 10 worldwide readers are eligible to receive a reward. The marking criteria is rigorous with no part of the book being overlooked, the quality of each of the following is considered: ContentTitlePlotCharactersDialogueWriting styleCopy-EditingFormattingCover The Pretender scored extremely highly in all of the above categories with the judges commenting that “this was a delightful, light read.” By achieving this award and having read the amazing reviews left by my readers, it is clear that this is a book that has managed to really capture the hearts of my audience which I love!     

Sharing my Publishing Pitfall to Help Other Authors Succeed!

Sharing my Publishing Pitfall to Help Other Authors Succeed!

Ask any aspiring writer and they will tell you all you need to know about the prestigious “Writer’s and Artists’ Handbook”. It’s a treasure trove of untapped opportunity for many authors dreaming of publication with its definitive listings of all those who can help you achieve success. So, last year, after coming across a request from Bloomsbury for case studies to be included in the new Writer’s and Artists’ Guide to Self-Publishing I was thrilled. Looking back over my own experience, I highlighted a few issues I encountered that I wish I’d known how to avoid, typed them up and sent them off. To be able to contribute to a new version of a book that had been such a big part of my early writing career was so exciting. However, with the buzz of Christmas and the emergence of a global health crisis, my submission was quickly forgotten. That was until I received an email in April advising that my case study had been selected for publication and was currently on sale. Unlike the elusive professionals in the publishing industry who new authors always think hold the magic key to their success, in the self-publishing sector you are your own fairy godmother. The success you gain is slow and based on the things you do, which of course you never know as most authors don’t have experience in these areas. So, to have a definitive guide that can help you through the process is such a milestone for the self-publishing industry. To have been able to use the pitfalls I experienced in my own journey to help other authors avoid them is fantastic because it turns what felt very negative at the time into something positive. That the collective advice given in the guide will be able to make this journey that little bit easier for anyone who chooses to undertake it in the future.​

Cookbook Twist for The Pretender

Cookbook Twist for The Pretender​

Have you ever read a book and wished you could make the dishes from that book for yourself? Well now you can, as the new Eat, Read and Dream cookbook features recipes inspired by award-winning novels. The Pretender is one of the books that is being featured. Being set in the re-imagined world of the French monarchy, food plays an important part especially considering that the only the best food would ever find its way to the royal table. Prior to the cookbook being produced, I had worked with a friend of mine who was a French food writer to bring to life some of the recipes from my book that my readers could make to give them a flavour of the world they were reading. I like the idea of making my work a bit more immersive than usual and this seemed a great way. So, when I was contacted by Indie Brag about the idea of developing a cookbook inspired by their award-winning novels, I seized the opportunity to showcase the amazing recipes my friend had created with my book in mind. This has been such an exciting project to be a part of and I can’t wait to see the finished book when it is released. Eat, Read and Dream will be released on Saturday 22 August 2020 and pre-orders can be made using the below link. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Indiebrag-Eat-Read-Dream-Cookbook/dp/1098308034  

Shute Festival 2019

During the promotion of ‘The Pretender’ I met one of the organisers of Shute Festival on a Twitter forum I took part in. This is a literary festival that I run in the little village where I grew up and takes place in the local church with all profit made benefitting the local school and church. When I was asked to become involved in organising the 2019 festival, I jumped at the chance. In March 2019, while I was in Canterbury for my Books 2 Africa interview I had BBC Breakfast on while I was getting ready. They were talking to an eminent forensic scientist about a book she had released. Then they asked her “of all the cases you have been involved in what is the one that has caused you the most concern”. As she began to reply, I noticed I had stopped and was enthralled a I almost had a feeling I knew what she would say.In 1987, there was a murder of an elderly woman in her rural home in Shute. A local man was convicted and sent to prison but there was always a fear that a miscarriage of justice had occurred. A Channel 4 documentary in the late 1990’s highlighted some of the major discrepancies within the case.As I stood watching the TV, Professor Angela Gallop responded by saying that the one case she felt most uneasy about even to this day was the murder that took place in Shute. Realising how amazing it would be to have Angela come to Shute to talk about her involvement in this case as well as her extensive 40 year career in forensic science, I got in contact with her publicist to see if she would be willing to attend. In September 2019, Angela Gallop was one of many brilliant participants of Shute Festival and to a full house explained her ongoing concerns around the murder that took place in Shute all those years ago and how she would like to do more to help on this case if the opportunity should ever arise. As well as Angela, many others in the law enforcement world remain concerned today about the conviction made in this case and the likelihood that an innocent man was sent to jail for a murder he did not commit.

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Katie Ward | Writer
Katie Ward | Writer