Monday 14 August 2023

18 Years As An Author


By the time this gets published, I will have celebrated eighteen years since my debut, BLACKOUT, hit shelves. So much has changed in that time, and now I'm working my way towards my twenty-first book being published! (You can pre-order it here!) I didn't really ever think that I'd make it that far for many many reasons, more that it took me so long to write a book that I didn't think it would be possible for me to write ten, let alone twenty or more. As it stands right now I'll be finishing two projects this month which brings my total up past forty and closer to fifty. Mind blowing, right?

I didn't used to make a big deal out of my authorversary. I always thought that it was a small thing, and that I could acknowledge it privately, but nothing public, no big splash or the like. Now though, seeing how other authors, both indie and trad, celebrate, it made sense for me to not be ashamed to do the same. The way I see it this industry is hard and rough, and takes a whole lot out of you. Whether you're a indie author like me, or whether you're trad pub, or whether you're a hybrid over the two, you should be celebrating every win. The small, the medium, and the huge, and eighteen years, and twenty-odd books later? That, my friends, is a huge win!

One thing that has stuck with me through all of those years is just how much my writing has grown. I look back at that debut and wonder how it would sound and read if I were to write it now. I'm not going to. I'm a big believer in keeping what's out there the same as when I first published it. I don't mean correcting typos and the like, but changing the core of the story just feels like it's kinda cheating to me. I also don't want to change the essence of the story that I wrote as a nineteen year old, scared of all the changes in my life, and having had that story in the back of my mind for years.

Embracing my writing changed the course of my life. I know you've probably all heard this story before, so I'll try to keep it brief for those who haven't. I grew up knowing what I wanted to be, and it wasn't an author or a writer. I wanted to be a doctor. I honed all my choices so that they would lead in that direction, and I got the grades at GCSE level, and was into the A-levels when it soon became clear that I was not going to make it.

My health had always been fragile, but it took a big hit during college, and I ended up leaving before finishing my first year and going into the working world. Okay, course correction, I can still find a job I'm passionate about, right? Only my body had another plan in mind. Not a year into what was a job I adored and excelled at, I got sicker, and took an extended period of months off. That lead to my diagnosis of M.E and Fibromyalgia and I was then retired on medical grounds at the age of nineteen.

I won't go into the mental health side of things, but truth is, picking up the pen and writing those stories, they very much saved me. I didn't have a routine. I didn't have plans beyond maybe getting traditionally published, (which was pretty much the only option back then as I am old and this was 2001) it didn't work out that way, as you've probably gathered.

My point is that writing became this escape for me when everything else was going wrong in my life. When I was struggling with frequent hospital admissions and then stabilising for a bit and then back to the hospital. Writing was very much something I could do, and those talks of being published that I'd had back when I was thirteen suddenly felt like they needed to happen. Writing was a way of pouring my soul into my characters and my worlds, and it's not something I have ever regretted doing.

By the time 2005 came, and I was actually published, it seemed to be a given that I would keep writing, and I have. Since then I've gotten the writing routine, I've gotten the backlist. I know what I'm doing over the next five or so years writing wise, and I have never been happier with my career. Could there be some things changing that would help? Yes, very much so, but truth is, I write and I publish because it's part of who I am, and that's never going to stop being true.

So happy 18 years to me! Blackout can now legally vote!

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!

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