Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Does It Run In The Family?

I don't know if I am what you would call a typical published author, but when I began writing at the age of fifteen it was with no thoughts of publication - I just had this compulsion to write. Over the years, my outlook remained the same, I wrote to amuse myself and friends, still with no thoughts of approaching a publisher. However, my outlook changed when I joined a writers' group at our local college and the lecturer who headed the group badgered me into submitting my work.

I work mainly on the computer and it was to the internet I turned when looking for a suitable publisher who would accept submissions electronically. Unfortunately, there seemed no such publishers in the UK therefore I turned my attentions to the USA. I had several novels under my belt but 'Dominic' a Georgian Romance, was the first one I sent out to All Romance Books - an ebook and POD publisher. They loved it and asked if I had any other manuscripts so I submitted 'My Dearest Friend', a Regency. They took both books but my debut was cut short when, due to the owners demise, All Romance Books was forced to close.

At that time, I was awaiting a heart bypass operation and, believing I had had my five minutes of fame, thought my publishing career was over. However, shortly after the operation, I decided to try submitting once again. I sent the two manuscripts out to Wings ePress who, within five weeks, offered me a contract on both books. At the same time I approached Triskelion with 'The Portrait', which they immediately took. Wings then accepted 'His Shadowed Heart' and with four books waiting for release, I began to feel that I was making some headway toward becoming a 'published author'. However, things don't always run smoothly in the publishing world and once again I was doomed for disappointment when Triskelion filed for bankruptcy before 'The Portrait' hit the shelves and, along with the other Triskelion authors, I am now awaiting the release of my rights so that I may submit elsewhere.

I write for the love of it and don't work to a trend or formula - I write what pleases me. I usually make a brief outline as to where I want the story to go and then just let it unfold. It's like watching a play evolve and quite often my characters take me off at a tangent. For instance, I didn't know when I began writing 'My Dearest Friend' that Stefan had an illegitimate daughter until the sergeant strolled onto the stage and told me.

In my youth, I never envisioned myself becoming a published author and even now, when I stop and think about it, it doesn't seem quite real. People often ask me why I write and the answer is that I don't know - it's just a compulsion that I can't ignore. Their next question is does it run in the family and up until now I have always said no - then I remembered what my mother told me about my maternal grandfather. James Hackney was a quiet man. He could neither read or write and worked on the kilns at a pottery manufacturers. However, he was a poet and story teller who was in great demand in the 1920's and 30's. It amazes me that, without the ability to write, he was able to commit so much to memory. Perhaps it does run in the family after all!

Hazel Statham


Cheryl said...

What a great story. Thanks so much for sharing your journey to publication. It is not for the faint of heart.

Have you written, yet, the story of James Hackney? It certainly sounds fascinating.

Best of luck!


Hazel said...

I would love to write my grandfather's story but sadly, there is no one left who can fill in the gaps. I only have vague memories of what my mother told me when I was was a child.

I suppose I could 'create' a story though - something to definitely think about!



Anonymous said...

What a great story... I have reasons to believe that writing ability may run in the genes also.

Invitation to visit:

An intrigue/romance.

A recent comment said,

"I've read over 2000 books. A Mountain Too High just blew me away."

A comment that made writing it all worth while...