moving house to a loud toddler

My Best Friend’s Murder led me from moving house to a loud toddler, surrounded by boxes and boxes.

moving house to a loud toddlerPolly takes some time out from editing her next book (Image: Polly Phillips)

In the midst of the moving country chaos, I realized that this was the best time to start a novel. There was nothing else I could do. My husband lost his job in Denmark, and I was able to move our family back to London and take a job as a desert worker in Algeria. It would have a major impact on our lives.

It would be hard for me to return to work full-time as sole caregiver to my daughter.

However, the evenings were when I had a lot more time to myself, as she was already asleep, so it was a good thing.

It was always been my dream to publish a book. After signing up for an online class, I began to brainstorm plot ideas.

My problem was not coming up with an idea for a plot. It was trying to find the best way to navigate through all of my (generally horrible!) ideas. There were many ideas that vied for the same space in order to find one that would work.

Although I found the story loosely inspired by my grandmother’s World War Two experiences appealing, I realized that I had taken on too many responsibilities as I read through it.

It is important to write only what you are familiar with, but it was too much for me to create something that would be believable.

I worked hard, and made it all the way to the finish of the book. But I knew that what I had created was not going to be published.

My next idea was born out of a conversation with a friend, which I found much easier to remember.

She complained about her job, and the hard work she had to do.

After being up late with my toddler all night, I was not as understanding as I used to be and suggested that she get some rest.

She looked at me as if I were an idiot, and said how much she enjoyed what she did.

My defensiveness was a reminder of how complex female friendships can become. I realized how passionate I wanted to write about these relationships.

A former student at an all-girls’ private school, my toxic friendship experiences were a part of my past and I felt that it could be a great book.

I was surrounded by high-achieving, polished female alphas, and that is what inspired me to create Izzy.

My Best Friend's Murder – the debut novel from Polly Phillips

My Best Friend’s Murder – the debut novel from Polly Phillips (Image: Simon & Schuster)

Izzy, tall, beautiful, and blonde, has the ideal marriage and darling daughter. She is also a brilliant career.

Bec, Bec’s best friend, and arch-rival came from much closer home.

All of my insecurity about my looks, career and place in this world went into my daughter.

It was a personal insult when readers felt she was annoying or needy.

I was aware from the beginning that Bec had always been close friends with Izzy since high school. But, I didn’t know that their friendship would have a poisonous heart.

When I began writing, words started flowing in a different way than they did with the first idea.

The friendship was formed between two women, who had been through many life-changing events together. They are now locked in an unspoken but deadly rivalry that will end in tragedy.

The beginning of the book was my first task, and I wrote the first 10,000 words without pausing.

Then, I began entering it in literary competitions.

It was my first time hearing nothing back. Just as I began to doubt whether I should keep going, the Emirates Literature Foundation awarded it its Montegrappa prize.

A meeting with a literary agent was part of the prize.

His valuable feedback, along with the confirmation of winning the contest, was a great motivator for me to keep going.

The book was completed in 3 months. I started to send it off to literary agents.

Three of the four agents who I sent my request to received offers to represent me.

Sarah Hornsley, The Bent Agency was my choice and I worked with her to complete the manuscript for submission.

The My Best Friend’s Murder was sold to Simon and Schuster a month later. In July, it was published in paperback.

Funny thing is, after finishing editing The Reunion my second novel, I find myself again surrounded by boxes. My first novel was published more than five decades ago. I have moved several times from London to Dubai, and then finally Australia.

My first novel was published in three different countries. I will be publishing my second book next year.

As I begin the planning of Book 3 in my cardboard city, I feel like it’s the right time to look back at how far I have come.

Click here to purchase Polly Phillips’s book.

Publited at 12:37:00, Wed Aug 2021 +0000

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