Port Macquarie author Hayley Lawrence says having her first manuscript published is a triumph for regional writers throughout Australia.
Ms Lawrence has secured Penguin Random House Australia as publisher for her first novel, Inside the Tiger.
“I’m very fortunate to secure Penguin Random House as the publisher,” she said.
“I’ve been working with an editor there for a few years and being nominated for The Vogel Award and securing a couple of fellowships has also helped things along.
“Literary agents Curtis Brown agreed to work on my behalf and the book will be published in 2018 across all Commonwealth countries except Canada. We are working with an Los Angeles agent who is looking to secure a deal in the US and Canada.
“In publishing, all your stars have to align to get a book published.”
Mrs Lawrence praised Port Macquarie as ‘a wonderful place to work from’ and said while regional artists were under-represented at securing funding, this was slowly changing.
She said Tim Winton had put West Australia on the map for authors and she felt ‘encouraged’ by his success.
But there is a real sense of isolation that is sometimes associated with being a regional-based writer, she admitted.
In publishing, all your stars have to align to get a book published.Author Hayley Lawrence
“You don’t really get access to workshops, seminars or writers’ groups because they are generally available on a weekly basis,” she said.
“I have two writing partners and we share our work to help combat that sense of isolation.”
Mrs Lawrence said she hopes the local library will support her book, once it is published.
“I love being in Port Macquarie, because there is always support and a strong sense of community,” she added.
Inside the Tiger is a young adult story about a girl from an elite boarding school who writes to a death row prisoner in Thailand and falls for him.
The novel delves into questions about the death penalty and the nature of punitive justice.
“It explores the idea of mercy and whether it is something which can be gained or is a basic human right,” Ms Lawrence said.
Ms Lawrence drew on her own experience and background to shape the book and its characters.
Before family life Ms Lawrence was a lawyer and has been writing since she could hold an implement.