Dear diary...if at first you don’t succeed, go direct

Rai Jayne Hearse with her fiancee Nikki
Rai Jayne Hearse with her fiancee Nikki
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Fleetwood author Rai Jayne Hearse had almost given up on her book, which she had been working on for about six years.

The 29-year-old had just graduated with a creative writing degree from university, when she sent off her work to various agents in a bid to get a publishing contract.

She had not had much response from agents, but decided to try a publisher direct.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Now Rai’s first novel, aimed at young adults – entitled The Life And Loves Of Cheryl Bakewell – is out to buy on her website, Amazon and other booksellers.

For every book sold through her website, 10p will be donated to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) charity Stonewall.

The book is the story of Cherry Bakewell – told through her diary – a pink-haired 17-year-old about to embark on the biggest journey of her life, moving to university.

The novel follows her thoughts as she attempts to balance her life, love, lessons, and work, with being a fierce bass player and singer for her band Blinding Lollipop and the Helter Skelter Whiz Kids.

The reader follows how she tries to figure out who she can trust, which boys are toxic and why students shouldn’t drink.

Cherry experiences a whole lot of first-times and learns about life – rocking out, growing up, falling in love, kissing boys, kissing girls.

Rai, who lives with her fiancée Nikki and who works for the NHS, said: “I’d been writing the book really for about six years, and a few times I nearly packed it in.

“Just as I was graduating, I sent it off to about 30 agents, and they came back and said it wasn’t really something of interest to them.

“I decided to just contact publishers direct, and was then offered a contract.

“It was an amazing feeling. I was really pleased.

“It’s a fictional work and characters, but I used some of my own experiences in my life for ideas.

“I wanted to give some money to the charity from the book sales, as the main character in the book starts to realise she might be gay.

“And I know there may be a lot of young people out there in a similar situation.

“The book is set in her first year of university, and I don’t think there are that many books out there for young adults, so that’s why I wanted to aim it at that age group.”

Rai, who also plays in local punk band Pink Hearse, has always been interested in writing: “It’s always been a passion, I used to write lots of stories when I was at primary school. And I always felt I’d like to be a magazine journalist.”

Rai is now planning further instalments of Cherry’s adventures.

For more information, or to buy the book, visit