Reader question: how did you become a writer?
A reader, April, wrote me an email and asked me these questions: "How did you become an author and why did you
want to be an author?" So I'll answer both.
First up, the second part of the question: I always wanted to be an author because I loved reading so much and because it turned out I was kind of okay at writing. Plus, from my perspective as a child, it seemed a little bit glamorous. (Let me just put that rumour to rest. It's completely not glamorous. At least, not yet. But, you know, I'm ever hopeful...)
As an adult, I can't actually think of anything else I'd rather do, except maybe be a ballerina or a jazz singer, but I'm too 'well built' and too old to be a ballerina and I don't have a very good voice, so those things are out. I'm basically obsessed with writing. Can't stop. Or at least I won't stop until it becomes clear that the Entire World Hates And Despises my books and is begging me to cease and desist. But hopefully that won't happen.
I don't have too many illusions.
I know I'm not a *great* writer. I'm not a giant of literary fiction. It's easy for me to fall into cliches and write dull beginnings and trite endings. I'm not going to win any prizes for fiction any time soon. But I think I'm okay. And I'm always trying to learn, so hopefully I'll improve as I go on.
How did I become an author?
Um, I wrote a book. And then I published it. That's the short answer.
The long answer is: I carved out 15 hours per week in my busy life to dedicate to putting together Invisible . I borrowed about 20 library books on writing fiction and creating good plots and read them all. Then I planned the span of the story, did a bit of background on the characters and decided on the voice I would write in.
After that, I sat down and wrote it. (Well, actually, I typed it. And some of it was dictated into my computer because I often have RSI and my shoulders and hands hurt from too much typing.)
That was the easy part.
The publishing was much harder. Invisible was rejected by every single Australian publisher and then nearly picked up by Penguin, but then not, and by the time I'd spent about a year being told it wasn't good enough I felt pretty bummed out.
I'd read about self-publishing and thought, "Well, I'll give it a go." It was better to see if maybe just a few people wanted to read it than to let it rot inside my computer. So I paid a friend to do a gorgeous cover, typeset it myself (it helps to have worked as an editor in the past) and put it out there for free.
And then you all read it and (most of you) liked it and it was So Great to know that all that work hadn't been for nothing, and lo and behold, I was suddenly an actual author and started getting emails from readers.
Which I love by the way!
There you go, April. Questions answered!