Once upon a time, five years ago today, I opened a WordPress blogging accounts, with dreams of jotting down a few thoughts on my journey as a writer. Today I received a congratulatory notification that my account has hit another anniversary. So I thought I would reflect on my journey over those years, and also bring forth the very first blog post that I published.
Life is a fascinating trail of experiences and things that we do. There are pipe-dreams, mundane every day things, and then there are the things that change our lives. Five years ago, it was a pipe-dream for me to actually get published.
I had already written a bunch of different books. Books that had changed my life. I didn’t know it then, but those books were the ultimate foundation for the way that I write today. Those books are books that I don’t ever think will ever get published, and I am absolutely great with that. I honestly don’t want the greater public to read those works. I have grown and developed too far ahead now to ever bring those forth from my novice writer ashes.
Five years ago, I was writing an urban fantasy trilogy. I was also doing Nanowrimo 2010, where I met up with the most incredible team of people all over the world. I had done Nanowrimo for a few years before – but this particular year, friendships were forever forged in the fires of a writing frenzy month. I met people who I hope I will remain friends with for the rest of my life. It was a serious turning point in my writing career, where I actually got serious. It was the point where I started to believe in myself. I started to believe that I could actually do this writing gig. The books I had begun to write were… good.
A couple of months later, the big Christchurch earthquake struck, and that very day, I met a woman who is now one of my very bestest friends in the whole wide world. Now, years later, she’s also my official editor. Cassie Hart opened my eyes to a completely different world. A world of New Zealand writers who I had all but dismissed. I’d had bad experiences with the New Zealand creative community, but Cassie bought me back into that foray, and the next thing I knew, I was bonded together with a team of New Zealand Speculative Fiction writers (and some international – Neil Gaiman anyone?) to pull together in an Anthology to raise relief funding for those survivors of the Canterbury earthquake. Then that anthology won a massive award.
During Nanowrimo 2010, I met two South African writers living here in New Zealand, Kim Koning and T. G. Ayer, who invited me to be a part of their Critique circle. In turn, they introduced me to Melissa Pearl and Brenda Howson, two more fellow kiwi authors. Then it was my turn to invite someone – Cassie. While Kim has dropped away from us, the rest of us remain very close. These women are the people I turn to whenever I need them. The bounce ideas with me, support one another, and we are always there whenever someone needs it. This is a team that completely trusts each other.
Meanwhile, I kept writing. I got pregnant and stopped writing for a while. Then Abigail was born. Major life changing event. It was then that I started writing and planning The Nights Series. The books that I would officially publish. I had decided that right from the outset. I was finally ready. Abigail’s appearance into the world was kinda cataclysmic in my life. Everything changed. While my every beating heart was for her, I also realised something else. I wanted to be a good role model for her. I wanted to show her that life is about achieving beautiful things for yourself, by pushing every boundary. And come hell or high water, I was going to get some books published. I now had my offspring to think about and show that life is an adventure, and to never doubt ones self.
Which brings me to today. Today I have more critique partners who seriously keep me grounded – one who definitely deserves a huge mention here – Richard Parry. Richard helps me by throwing me curve balls, and really questioning me, my books, and every single nitpicky motive. I couldn’t be the writer I am today without the incredible team I have around me. There professionalism and support as well as their genuine friendships honestly mean the world to me.
On the professional front, I three books published, and I’ve even officially hit within the top 100 (nearly the top 50) of the Organised Crime categories, a couple of times. Even doing this, has meant that I have reached a dream that I never knew if I could reach. But I have.
I have future books planned, with just not enough time to write as fast as I would like. I know that one day I’m going to have to give up my ‘evil day job’ (EDJ) and write full time. Sometimes I wish that day would happen as fast as possible. Other days I know that I would miss my wacky colleagues. Regardless. Its going to happen in the future. It has to. At some point, there will no longer be the option. Too many books will be bursting from my seams, and I’ll have to find the time to write them, or else I feel it will be to the detriment of my own sanity.
Swinging back to the very first blog post that I wrote on here... it talks about writing commercial fiction for women who dominantly read magazine fiction. Amazingly. I have come in a full circle. In the last five years I have written urban fantasy, action thrillers, and even some rubbish erotica. Now I am back to aiming at the market I was looking back then, and I am hoping that Wildest Dreams will meet their every expectation.
Thank you all for being here with me. You can find the first post here: Glitz… Glamour… and Literature