Writing

Writing

It’s like having green eyes


Being a writer is simply part of who I am. Like so many other writers, I discovered my love of writing when I was very young. I wrote poetry and short stories, and some longer stories, as a child and teenager; It’s how I made sense of the world. It’s how I fantasised and put the world to rights. I got revenge in my stories and learned to dream.

I entered the occasional competition, and was so delighted when my teacher in primary school bound one of my stories into a ‘proper book’ and read it to the class at the end of the school day. My first audience! I could not have been happier.

Or part of me is missing


There have been many years when I have hardly written at all. But even then, I wasn’t writing. I was aware of the lack. I knew it wasn’t happening, and it was like a part of me – an essential part – was missing.

I stopped writing fiction in my late teens (I wrote a feminist polemic in my early twenties and lots of maudlin poetry) and didn’t start again until I was twenty nine, just after my youngest daughter was born. I wrote my first novel during maternity leave, after doing The Artist’s Way with a group of friends.

The long apprenticeship


Approaching thirty, desperately aware of my neglected dreams of being a writer, fearful that if I left it any longer I would never see it happen, somehow I managed to get up and write between 5-6am each morning and Unearthed was, well, unearthed. At the time I honestly believed that novel would be published (it wasn’t). And it was years before I heard writing described as the Long Apprenticeship.

Several years later, after rising from despondency and a bruised ego, I started a new novel. It stuttered its way into being (over about five years) and, cautiously, I dared to dream that Swimming in the Shadows would be my debut.

I found my feet writing that novel – I got comfortable sharing my work and receiving constructive criticism. I sought mentorship. I got acquainted with The Elements of Style. But, like Unearthed, Swimming in the Shadows got left on the shelf.

I took comfort from a couple of positive rejections I received from literary agents (“I was impressed with this submission, get in touch again with your next novel”) and I learned several valuable lessons: not having a plan results in years of redrafting; like every other writer I must consider genre; when a novice writer’s novel falls between stools no one ends up reading it.

Is publication really so important?


My indignant artist did a little foot stamping at this point. I want to be published! I’ve worked hard – reward me with recognition! I think I’ve tried on plenty of occasions to care less about being published. But, however I dress it up, the fact remains that I really do want to see my stories in print.

Indulging the part of myself needing reassurance that I wasn’t completely wasting my life, I signed up for a short story writing workshop with Joanna Barnden and went on to have four short stories published in 2014.

Ready to begin again, in April 2015, with a reasonable plan in hand, a genre in mind, I began to write Petals and Stones. Third draft in hand, I began to look for an agent just before Christmas 2016 and I’m delighted to now be represented by Ella Kahn, at Diamond Kahn & Woods Literary Agency

Petals and Stones, my debut novel, will be published here in the UK, by Legend Press, on 6th September 2018.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save