TLC Client Sarah Armstrong Secures Book Deal

July 27, 2015 | Other News, TLC Talent

All families have secrets, but Bernadette’s are more dangerous than most. On holiday in Northern Ireland in 1982, she and her older sister discover their family is involved with disappearances and murder. Thirty years later Nancy makes a disastrous return to the farm with her own family. The events of the past gradually and menacingly reveal why those sisters have not spoken to each other since that last disturbing summer together.

We are thrilled that The Insect Rosary, by TLC client Sarah Armstrong, has been snapped up and published by Sandstone Press. We can’t wait to see more by Sarah and wish her the best as she launches her career as a professional novelist. About her experience with TLC, and her journey to publication, Sarah said:

“In 2005, when I had my third child, I thought that, if I was ever going to write that novel I was always thinking about, I should probably get started. I had read hundreds of novels, studied literature for my BA, MA and PhD – surely I could just write one… I’ve since read that it takes about ten years to complete the necessary training, by which I mean writing. Reading is vital, giving you a sense of character and the shape of a novel, but it isn’t the same as actually writing. I wonder sometimes whether I would have believed I had the stamina to complete a decade apprenticeship (along with the four children and the lecturing). Looking back I can see that it’s the encouragements along the way which keep you going.

The most important for me was, in 2010, winning a Free Read with the TLC through the Writers’ Centre Norwich. I had sent work off to agents and sometimes heard back, but often didn’t. With the feedback for TLC I knew that I would get that most elusive of things – a professional overview of where I had got to and where I needed to go next.

My reader was Evie Wyld, so I immediately went out and bought her novel (finding myself a new favourite author in the process). The feedback was thorough and incisive. I knew that she understood what I was trying to do and she gave me a huge amount of thoughtful advice to reshape and improve my novel. She told me what my strengths were, as well as my weaknesses and it has been advice I can return to and learn from.

The novel which was reviewed with TLC wasn’t the novel which was published in 2015, but it is all connected. Having this professional input and overview has helped me enormously. Halfway through my apprenticeship, it steadied me as a writer by showing me where my focus needed to be honed.”

‘An atSarah-Armstrongmospheric, cleverly written exploration of the intensity of sibling relationships, The Insect Rosary is chilling and evocative: a story full of dark humour, unexpected tensions and unanswered questions, leading to an unbearably tense conclusion.’ Elizabeth Haynes

Sarah Armstrong lives in Essex with her husband and four children. Her short stories have been published in magazines and anthologies, and she teaches creative writing for the Open University. She is on Twitter @sarahsiobhana