Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Questions I'm Asked

When I tell people I am a writer, I can expect one of two questions; the first being: "Don't you wish you were JK Rowling?" and the second: "Are your books anything like 50 Shades?"

Yes, of course I would like JK's millions and no, my books have nothing remotely shady about them. I haven't read any of the Shades books but the last time I read a smutty novel was in the late seventies when Harold Robbins was in his heyday.

 

Monday, 19 November 2012

What are the Odds?

After I had finished my first book "Temptation" at the end of 2010 and was contemplating what I should then do with it, I read the following piece of advice from an agent and was instantly filled with horror:
"From hundreds, agents taken on 2-4 new clients per year. For major publishers, the figures are even worse, between 0 and 2 out of thousands. The overwhelming majority (over 95%) of submissions are so hopelessly bad that one shouldn't include them in any significant statistics. Last year, getting on 130,000 titles (fiction and non-fiction including new editions of previously published material) were published. That there is a vast amount of undiscovered talent out there is a delusion.  If you have ability, persist in your search, the real odds are less fearsome than they might first appear."
It was the first jolt to my system and 2 years later I found a publisher.  This is not a business for the faint-hearted!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

First Loves

At school, between the ages of 5 and 7, I had the adventures of Dick and Jane to contend with but I soon discarded them for The Gauls: Asterix and Obelisk, who provided far more entertaining adventures with characters I grew to love. Then, I found the books of Henry Treece: The Viking Sagas and so began my love for all things Viking and the concept of violence mixed with honour.

When I was 9, I discovered a strange, tattered old paperback thrown onto the pile our teacher had placed on the "reading table." I placed the Famous Five and Stig of the Dump to one side and picked it up. The monochrome picture of a dragon on the front cover drew me and although the pages were yellow and the print small, I was hooked after the first page. I couldn't put The Hobbit down. I ignored the words I didn't understand, picking up the meaning as I read and discovered a love for the written word. I bought my own copy of the book that year, which I still have on my bookshelves.

During my teens, I abandoned books for social pursuits; flashing disco lights and boys replaced my first loves and it was only when I was at a train station, expecting a long and boring journey that I bought Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd. It was the first book my hand touched and my train was due, it rekindled my love. 

I had forgotten about my first loves until I began writing in 2010 and then the memories flooded back. They were the books that transformed a rainy Sunday afternoon and would keep me awake long after I was supposed to be asleep at night. They say everyone has a book inside them; I have now discovered that I have more than one.