I was visiting the blog of one of my good friends this morning, a debut author with Noble Romance Publishing, Tamara Gill (hit her name to see the blog post), and it hit me that I’ve never really told anyone how I came about this mad journey to be published. In the absence of a better idea today, I’ll tell you all about it (and apologise if I have told you but can't remember)...
Like Tamara, I didn’t start writing in primary school, scribbling in the backs of journals or whatever, hell I only just passed English and that was only because I had a teacher who was an insane cat lover. Write a story about a cat and you got an automatic A which balanced out the F’s and U’s I got for PE (no athletes in me waiting to break out). But I was a reader. I have always been interested in any and every book I could get my hands on. In the years after my cat loving teacher, I would get so frustrated with reading out loud. I always wanted to fly ahead and see what happened next. This I got from my mum. I can read a book in a day and then still pick up the sequel and stay up till the early hours of the morning lost in someone else’s world. I remember mum hiding them when she heard dad’s car pull in the driveway. We had Mills & Boons all through the house, under couch cushions, in the utensil draw. You get the picture.
So when I was about 19, I got a job working in a security control centre. Sometimes it got so boring and with nothing else to do, I would read. A lot! When I got transferred to Patrols, hours would go by in the small hours of the morning without one phone call or break in so we would watch movies, play Playstation, read books, whatever it took to stay awake (it was a great job, really, I loved it!) Anyway, one night I finished a book that had such a crap, anti-climactic ending that I threw it down in frustration wondering why I wasted money on it. And then the lightbulb moment came that I could do better. Every budding writer thinks they can do better, don’t they? ‘It’ll be easy, if they can do it crap, why can’t I do it awesome?’. WRONG! Not that I can’t do it better (I still think I can in some instances) but wrong that it’s easy. I started penning my first book back when I was 20-21 and now I’m 28, I’ve had one short story published and that’s it. I take away the time I was pregnant since I couldn’t write my way out of a paper bag when I was full of hormones (I was a crier) so take four years (pregnant with two and then feeding and sleepless nights) and that leaves me with about three to four years of getting serious, joining writing groups and organisations like SARA, RWAus and various critique groups.
So where am I now? Consider before I answer that most published authors I speak to say it took them on average eight to ten years to get a contract. I have a full and a partial (three chapters) on the desk of a New York Editor as we speak. I have a partial on the desk of a UK editor. I have two contest finals under my belt, a short story and other small accomplishments. But I’ve written about five full stories (the first one is soooo bad, I’m going to start again from scratch with just the idea) a few shorts and heaps of beginnings yet I’m still chasing the dream. Hopefully it won’t take me another six years but I’ll keep chasing.
I couldn’t imagine any other career that would keep me as happy and as satisfied as being an author. (Other than mum of course =) nothing can beat that!)