A blog from Army&You’s spring 2024 edition by Rachel Lynch

I’ve always dreamed of becoming a published author, but I didn’t see it as something I could do as a job until we were posted to Argentina, when my husband was Assistant Defence Attaché in Buenos Aires.

Our two children were both at school and I sat down to write my first novel, which was about three army wives and how they coped when their husbands were deployed to Afghanistan. It was called The Dependants and was published in 2014.

The biggest challenge in the beginning was not knowing much about the publishing world. There are certain processes to go through to get an agent and a publisher on board and these are vital to gain access to the wider distributors.

I researched as much as I could from the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook and I got an agent in 2016, and my first publishing deal in 2017.

I’m still learning about the industry, which is constantly changing due to the pressures from digital demands and economic trends. The most important thing I’ve learned is that the big names you see in the shops don’t necessarily sell the most and the digital platform is growing all the time.

The military family has always been a huge support for my writing, and it still is. I have massive support from friends I made during my time as a military spouse, and it is hugely important to me.

I have a series of books featuring a military policewoman as the main character and these are very popular. My most successful series is the DI Kelly Porter crime books set in the Lake District.

I’d say that the military lifestyle has enriched my writing. My husband served for 16 years and in that time we lived in 11 houses, and those experiences are never wasted.

Meeting so many people and travelling so extensively have had an enormous impact on my writing and I’m able to pull on a rich and diverse cast of characters for my books.

If you’re thinking of becoming a published author, don’t give up, just write what’s inside you. Statistically, success in terms of volume of sales being enough to provide a full-time income is rare, but just keep going and if you have a story to tell, it deserves to be out there.

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