The reality that her debut novel has started hitting bookshelves this week hasn't quite sunk in for Kaneana May.
"I feel really numb. It doesn't feel real suddenly. It's been such a dream for such a long time and I think I was in shock when I opened up the box with the copies."
The Old Bar author's book, The One, isn't slated for official release until July, but books started appearing in stores from June 17 and a box of the final product was shipped to Kaneana just over a week before that.
"I can't believe that I did it now," said Kaneana, who admits writing the manuscript was a juggle as a mum to three young children.
"I had to be quite disciplined in dedicating time to it. It was like my escape and my time for me.
"I'd work if they had a sleep during the day or like last night, I was up until 10.30pm. We have early mornings most days. I wonder how I completed it some days."
The One is a romance fiction that revolves around a reality TV dating show called The One and follows the stories of three women.
It's been published by Harlequin after Kaneana made a successful pitch to the publisher at the Romance Writers of Australia Conference.
She received an advanced reader copy (ARC) a few months ago and the book has had some minor adjustments since, "just sentences and a few little tweaks, and it looks a bit different".
"I think when I held onto the ARC copy I had the main feeling of excitement and like it's really happening.
I feel really numb. It doesn't feel real suddenly. It's been such a dream for such a long time.Kaneana May, on her debut book, The One.
"They send the ARC to people to try and get a cover quote. That's how they got the quote from Mamamia. All the bloggers have the ARC also.
"These copies I feel in a bit more shock. Seeing it in book form with the advance copy was a big wow moment but I knew it wasn't out for everyone.
"Now, it's a balance of being really excited and nervous about having it available for opinion. In my head I know it's not for everyone and having a thick skin and that it's okay."
The book took Kaneana about 18 months to write, but she has also written two others, both young adult fiction. The One was Kaneana's first foray into women's fiction.
"I have three I have completed the first draft for. It became a habit that I would go on the computer and type away and play in make-believe land.
"Some days I'd be on a roll and others I'd just have to write off. It was definitely easier when (the children) were sleeping."
It feels like it's been a long, hard slog but also I don't think I was willing to give up on a dream. I kept going.Kaneana May
The road to becoming a published author has been a long one for the former television scriptwriter, who worked on shows such as Home and Away, All Saints and Headland.
"It feels like it's been a long, hard slog but also I don't think I was willing to give up on a dream. I kept going. It was getting to the stage where frustration was starting to kick in."
Earlier this year Kaneana's work was also published in the young adult fiction short story anthology Underdog, which features unpublished authors.
She also spoke at LitFest in Port Macquarie on June 6, alongside Underdog editor Tobias Madden.
Kaneana has a number of upcoming author talks she will be giving at libraries in the Mid Coast.
She will be at Taree Library on July 25 at 1pm, Gloucester Library on July 29 at noon, Taree Literary Institute on July 31 at 10.30am and Forster Library on September 24 at 6pm. You can book to attend the talks at the libraries' websites.
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