Based in the UK, Gold Dust is a unique mentoring scheme for writers, founded by novelist Jill Dawson. An invaluable resource for new and emerging novelists and authors of non-fiction, Gold Dust offers eight hours of face-to-face meetings with an established novelist, biographer or short-story writer, usually taking place over a year. In between meetings the mentor will read your work for a further eight hours, and offer feedback on the writing, as well as an insider’s advice on the publishing world and finding an agent.
‘Being mentored by Jill literally changed my life. I had just completed an MA in creative writing which had completely demoralised me by forcing me to take a falsely academic perspective on my writing. I’m a storyteller, but that had got lost somewhere along the lines and I no longer felt confident in my abilities. I was sixty and giving up hope.
‘Gold Dust changed all that. After the first meeting with Jill I felt empowered and full of ideas. She never once said how she would write it, but always drew out of me what I was wanting to say. She got me, she knew what I was about and she had an extraordinary perception about both the story behind the words and the words behind the story. In an odd way, she echoed what I was thinking back to me so that my writing was always my writing only enhanced.
‘Anyway, to cut to the chase, I’m now a sixty three year old novelist with a two book deal with HQ, an imprint of Harper Collins. I never would have believed that possible. It didn’t happen overnight – I wrote three novels whilst being mentored by Jill, and two of them will probably never see daylight. In an odd way, though, it almost wouldn’t have mattered if I never got published, I still learned to believe in my writing and that was the important thing.
‘Thank you Gold Dust, thank you Jill, I am very grateful.’
‘If you turn to the acknowledgements at the back of A PERFECT EXPLANATION, you will see that the first person I thank is Dr Sally Cline. As my mentor, Sally taught one invaluable lesson after another, not least that I am not Virginia Woolf (you have to learn the rules before you can break them), and to murder my darlings over and again until what reads is a voice without artifice. Her wisdom, patience and humour turned a shambolic series of missteps into a novel on the road to publication; without her I would likely still be lost in cliché and qualifiers.
Do not hesitate, if you are looking for help; find a mentor in Gold Dust.’