Vanessa Mulberry on The First Act ~ Guest Blog

Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Vanessa Mulberry for stopping by today. Please give them a warm welcome.


Title: The First Act
Author: Vanessa Mulberry
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: AngstyG
Genre: Historical
Release Date: 10/17/2016


April 1594. William Moodie thinks he’s in love with celebrated actor, Richard Brasyer. When Brasyer’s playing company, Goldfox’s Men, comes to town, William is only too willing to leave his country life for the opportunities of the theater and a life in London. Determined to become Richard’s apprentice, William seeks to impress his mentor with his acting—and please him in bed.

Meanwhile, Richard struggles to escape his past as a spy and disentangle himself from the manipulations of his former master and ex-lover, Bennett Goldfox. Swearing off a relationship with his new apprentice proves difficult for Richard, as William uses all his youthful charms to seduce him. When Bennett’s life is threatened, Richard is lured back into the game for one final mission, and he and William travel to Cambridge to hunt down a list of traitors to the Crown.

In the midst of danger and deception, Richard and William come to truly see each other, faults and all, and realize their feelings run deeper than either expected.

Ten things I wish I had known before becoming a published author

I was fifteen when I decided I was going to be an author. My secondary school made us take a test to determine what would be the best career for our personalities and my top result popped up as an author, so I took that as a given I would grow up to be one. Before this, I had wanted to be a stand-up comedian, a film director, and a screenwriter, so novel writing didn’t seem a ridiculous choice. I was one of those teenagers who thought they could do anything and was quite oblivious to things like Real Life. When I told the teacher my result this was, of course, dismissed as “unlikely”, and I was encouraged to work towards something more “realistic”.

Eighteen years later and here I am with The First Act, which is my first novel with Dreamspinner Press and is set for release on October 17th. There’s a certain amount of satisfaction in having made it, but it’s tempered by the knowledge that this is just the beginning of my career and I’m still learning how to navigate the literary world. Today I want to share the things that have really stuck out to me on my journey.

  1. Writing a book is hard, but writing the next book is even harder.

Just when you think you’ve cracked the code you’re back at square one with a blank word document in front of you. You’ve got a million ideas but getting them onto the paper in a coherent manner still seems a Herculean task. I’m not sure that feeling will ever go away.

  1. My capacity for self-sabotage knows no bounds.

If I can find a way to cock things up, I will. I mention this because it seems to be a running theme in the modern literary world and it wasn’t something I’d considered until recently. There are no do-overs, we can only learn and do better, and I strive to do so. Making mistakes is human, as is feeling remorse.

  1. Editing is fun.

The thought of working with an editor had me worried; I won’t lie to you. I assumed it was going to be brutal. But having help and guidance on something as important as your book-baby is the best thing in the world.

  1. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.

This was a big thing for me. I often felt I should share private things about myself because others did. It took me a while to realise that it’s okay to prioritise my own comfort.

  1. This isn’t a get rich quick scheme.

Sadly, there’s not much money in writing books. I’d like to say I write just for the love of it, but I have a kid to feed and mortgage to pay. I’m privileged enough to be a stay at home mum right now while my daughter is small, but if I were still in the world of work, I wouldn’t be quitting my day job—which is exactly what I’d always dreamed I would be doing.

  1. There’s a lot of admin.

Working in a creative industry is no different from any other when it comes to paperwork. In fact, it can be even more onerous as you have to handle the money side yourself. Get a separate bank account for your writing career and put admin off at your peril!

  1. It’s all about the hustle.

I’m guest blogging here today because I have a book out: The First Act. I may have mentioned it above evil grin. Promo is as important as writing. Don’t forget to do it, but don’t overdo it. I have been guilty of both.

  1. There’s a fine line between expressing gratitude and gushing.

I’m like an overenthusiastic puppy. That’s just my personality. But reading back something I wrote recently it seemed a bit over the top. There’s nothing wrong with being yourself but professionalism has to be considered too.

  1. Authors are and aren’t public property.

The recent outing of Elena Ferrante has given me pause for thought. Like a lot of people, I overshare on the internet, but I’m also very protective of my real name. It’s only known to people I’ve worked with and one trusted friend. Hopefully, it will stay that way, but this is a reminder that success is a double-edged sword. It’s also a reminder to be respectful of other author’s boundaries. I tend to treat everyone I meet online like they’re my best mate within ten minutes of meeting them. That’s not often the best approach.

  1. That the online literary community is an immensely generous place.

Everything seemed so impossible when I was approaching the world of publishing. I had no friends, no contacts and no idea what to do. I’ve met with nothing but kindness and generosity from people who have helped promote me and my books, given me advice when I needed it, bucked me up when I was feeling down and made me welcome here amongst them. I’d have started on this journey years earlier if I understood this one thing.


The First Act on Goodreads
Dreamspinner Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Vanessa Mulberry has been reading and writing since she learnt to read and write. She has been an MM romance reader for a decade now and took up writing the genre because she loves happy endings and, ahem, happy endings. Her hobbies include Gin and Tonic.

She lives in Buckinghamshire (which is significantly less posh than it sounds) with her long-suffering husband and their adorable daughter.


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