Aug 21 2009 by Sara Bain, Dumfries Standard Friday
New writer’s on a roll
AE author Gillian Stewart has had a very good year.
In March she received two commendations in the 2009 Scottish Association of Writers (SAW) awards and she was recently shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists Association’s Joan Hessayon New Writers Award 2009.
She found an agent for her unpublished full-length novel and, more recently, her first novella has been snapped up by DC Thomson to be included in their People’s Friend publication and is now in print. Her second novella has already been accepted for their lists.
A mother of two and part-time accountant, Gill admits to having been penning stories since childhood but only took to writing more seriously six or seven years ago with the help of two writers’ groups that have been her crook and inspiration.
Gill belongs to the Dumfries Writers Group and admits that she values the strong support of her fellow members.
She said: “Meeting with other writers made me realise that I could take my writing seriously and that I was not alone.”
She also is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association which holds regular conferences up and down the country for members to meet each other, agents and publishers and attend workshops.
Gill said: “The Romantic Novelists Association is an excellent organisation for aspiring and published writers. It has been very informative and helpful to me and I have made many friends there.”
Writing under her maiden name Villiers, Gill’s first novella Rachel’s Coming Home is a short love story based in Southern Scotland.
The tale revolves around Rachel who returns home to help run a dog kennels business in the Scottish Borders. A mysterious vendetta against the kennels, a problematic younger brother and her mother’s illness keep her busy as well as the new neighbour Philip.
“I'm really enjoying writing for People’s Friend,” Gill added, “and hope they'll take more of my novellas in the future.
“I’m also keen to go back to working on my longer novels and would love to see one of those in print one day.”
Gill is hoping the current novella will come out in large print in future and should then be available in libraries.