A very good question! For day #2 of my #90DaysBlogChallenge. In all honesty you could say out of pure creative, therapeutic, time-passing, chance! I never really premeditated this career move, or making it an actual profession I take seriously at all. Here’s the thing I guess while it’s true that I’ve always been a writer. Journals, diaries etc I’ve always loved the written word, and placing my thoughts down . (I have some journals from my school days, I read back and laugh at how my eleven-sixteen year old mind worked back then), in all honesty I never sat down and said, ‘ you’re going to do this for your real job, or at least try to lol.’
Where Did it All Start?
The first ever book I penned was a 90,000 word novel A Stranger in France. It was rough as hell in terms of the manuscript. I had no conscious thought for ‘how to be a good technical writer’ back then, but it’s a good story. This is when I realised my talent, and that a good writer is a GOOD STORY TELLER not (just) a good technical writer. As you can pay people to become good with grammar etc, and do that part. Plus you learn it as you write more. Story-telling natural talent, is not something you can teach, or pay people to really give you naturally. Yes, you can attend courses, read books I’ve written a writer’s reference too on writing good romance, but all they give you and all anyone can give you is, an outline and guide. You, the writer, must bring your talent and A-game and that’s what makes a good story teller- you-your talent. You have it or you don’t I feel. You as a writer will know, regardless of who says what.
Anyway, even with my lack of regard for being a technically good writer with grammar etc (at the time in 2015/16), my focus was just to write and get my idea down on paper then edit it all later. To my surprise after sending it out to the first publisher I had ever approached, I got a response! A good one! A contract! OMG what happened??
So fast forward the first version was published in 2016, but I was very unhappy. with the publisher’s standards of working, and marketing, I learned a lot. The main difference between a good publisher willing to help you grow, has high standards with regards to quality, and ones that are really not worth the paper they offer you the contract on. Especially as you market the hell out of your book, to bring them money, but the end product is piss poor if you want me to keep it real. So that’s how I fell into writing.
I wrote that book because I had a story inside me to tell, and wanted to get it on paper. I had no idea about self-publishing or KDP at the time. I was a total virgin writer in every way! Once my cherry was popped in a way that woke me up, I learned all I could about self-publishing, how to do it well, and the role of a good publisher. I kinda didn’t really trust anyone with my work for a while. I kept writing, self publishing, and loved it I did a few books but then found my home I’m at now. A publisher who I am happy with so far! And they are happy with me.
What Was Going on in Life When You Penned That First Novel?
At the time I started to write my first ever novel, I was thirty-four years old I was running a book club in London too. Some of you may already know this. I ran it for about five years, met some wonderful girls (it was just for girls). We’d meet in London’s biggest book store Waterstones with five floors of books! It was heaven, and I was reading at least two books a month if not more back then. I just opened up a word document, and started to write what was in my heart, how I felt, and what characters came to me. I was also in a terrible relationship, nearing the end. I think that writing actually gave me the strength to say ‘times up, good bye’. So I did! I moved forward with life. Writing really was my saviour, I went on to write more books. Now I’m on about number fourteen (off the top of my head), at the time that I write this. It’s not a hobby, it’s a habit, something I have to do, something that came to me later in life, something that was ‘woken up’ within me, my talent came out from experiencing trauma and self-realisation! For that bull-shit that happened I am thankful for.
Never once did I imagine that in under five years of being a traditionally published author, I’d be an award-winning and best-selling one. Nope, never. I never had any of those common goals or wishes many writers have in mind, in order to 1. validate themselves as a writer 2. validate their talent as a writer 3. make them feel as though ‘they’ve made it’. It just happened by writing and being myself. My only goal has only been to get these characters out of my head , on paper, and into stories that I would love to read and hope others would. I guess I’m the kind of writer that writes for me first, and then hopes others will enjoy it. Sure, if I notice that readers like a particular story, style, series I create etc I will aim to keep them happy! But I guess when I sit down to write, the first thing that comes to me is ‘what do I want to create?’ rather than ‘what will sell?’ ‘ x,y,z would love this’, if that makes sense.
So my route into writing was a very random one, it flourished from experiencing joys with getting a publishing contract very easily or early, but not being happy with that experience, to learning myself how to put out my work, to then securing a publisher who is on the same page as me! My only hope is one day of course for one of the BIG, BIG BIG publishing houses to take onboard a manuscript of mine. But for the here and now I just want to keep going as I am, just write.
What Else Do You Write?
Outside of romantic suspense and crime/thriller/mysteries, magazine writing came later, I expanded on my love of non-fiction writing. I wrote for one magazine that did not stand the test of time sadly, and carried out editorial here. Then I landed my gig with Aspiring Authors Magazine LLC. Then I was blessed with an Associate Editor’s role for a romance literary magazine this year. Tallon Lake publishes quarterly.
How did you get into writing? Leave me a comment, blog it and link back to it here. Join in the writing prompt challenge use #90DaysBlogChallenge