Friday 29 July 2016

Inside The Author: Fifteen Years As A Writer: Where Next?


When I think back to how it all began, to the day I sat down against my bed and pulled out THE FRIENDSHIP TRIANGLE (or rather, what it was in 2001 before I took it apart for the last time and made it an actual book), I can't really see how I got from there - nineteen, sick and being told I was "retired" and would probably never work a conventional job again - to here - thirty-four, sicker, and writing books having completed a university degree, with my ninth book about to be published.

I don't mean that I don't know how I got here, I do. Lots of time, energy, blood, sweat, tears, foul language and hard work. I mean that when I was that person whose world had just broken in front of them, I never saw it ending up like this. I had no idea that I would've written almost sixteen books and having released my ninth and I know that sounds stupid, or like I'm being falsely modest, but honestly, I'm not. Looking back, I can see that scared teenager in my mind's eye. Scared that she had finally found a job she loved (the job I was retired from), and was finally doing well, even excelling at something and then M.E came along and pulled the rug out from under her. I'd never been a well and healthy person, but suddenly going from the person I was before to the person I was after scared the hell out of me.

I never expected that the book I wrote as a thirteen year old, huddled in my school library, would end up on shelves and have people reading it. Oh, I dreamed and I dreamed big. I dreamed of being signed by a big publishing house and making enough money to spend holidays in the Maldives with my family and my friends' families, but I knew that it wasn't likely to happen. And it still really hasn't happened quite that way. I don't make a huge amount, I am certainly not making enough to pay for thirty people to spend two weeks on a sunny, isolated island, but I'm happy with what I do. I love what I do and I enjoy what I do, so I guess that's the main thing, right?

So, what's my next stop? Well, I plan to continue to write two books at a time, usually averaging a finishing time of about eighteen months from first word to last. I plan to continue to release one book a year until I run out of my backlog and then I plan to release as often as I'm able to. Hopefully that won't happen for a while yet though. I'd also like to be nominated for an award - winning one would be awesome and beyond my wildest dreams, but to be nominated would be enough for me right now. I'd also love to take the Bug Books label and launch it properly, opening it up to other authors looking for an indie publisher that will help them realise their dream of seeing their book on Amazon. Both of those are really long term goals though. 

Another long term goal is to finish the DYING THOUGHTS series and possibly start another string of books. One of my next projects is a book that may end up being a two-parter, or possibly even a trilogy. It really depends on length and plot. I know that left to my own devices I could write about it for a few hundred thousand words and while 150K is not unheard of for a YA book, I wouldn't like to push it too much over that, but I also don't want to risk cutting out parts of the story that need to be told. So, I'm waiting until I finish planning the book to see where it goes and how that pans out. I'd like to explore some other genres as well as sticking with my old favourites and I'd like to possibly branch out and explore other aspects of life for teenagers. I would love to write about more disabled characters because I feel that there is a lack of representation in the media for young disabled adults and teens to relate to; the same goes for those with chronic illnesses.

I guess I have a lot of plans and it wasn't until I sat down to write this piece that I realised exactly how many I did have! Mostly though, I want to continue to write as much as my health and life allows. I love telling stories and I love getting feedback from people - both readers and those in the field, so for now, my main goal is to keep doing what I love.

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