How do you make the break from writing legal briefs or corporate notes to fiction?
What drew you to writing your three book children’s series?
I never had an intention to write children’s fiction. Dark, tragic, literary fiction tended to be my first love then chick-lit which is the complete opposite, perhaps for balance. However, my husband and I were on a sailing holiday and awake in the middle of the night looking up at the stars. He told me about a dream he had had about a glass table at the bottom of a river, and I thought it would make a great story, but a children’s story with fantasy elements.
How many publishers did you send your novels to before choosing your current publisher?
I paid a considerable sum to an editor for Rain, and I thought she had done a pretty good job. In the meantime however, I continued to learn everything I could about the writing process, rules, techniques etc., and in doing so, came to realize her editing was lacking in many ways, for example, when I read the manuscript again having grasped Point-Of-View (POV) for myself, I discovered POV errors everywhere starting on the first page. I realized then that a writer cannot rely on someone else to pick up on their lack of knowledge or understanding of writing rules – you need to know it for yourself.
I had Rain edited by two more editors at other times in its life cycle, plus a manuscript evaluation. Through each of these stages, I learned more about the editing process and writing. I spent a lot of time looking at the changes the editor or evaluator made, checked the theory behind it and the validity of those changes, and made notes to ensure I would not make those mistakes again.
Will you be writing other children’s stories or are you making a transition to adult novels with your latest book, Being Anti-Social?
I do tend to write whatever germinates and which story compels me. The three different genres I’ve written in so far: children’s, literary, and chic-lit/humor all reflect aspects of my personality. For example, there has been a lot of death in my family and I’ve learned a lot from it, so the dark, literary fiction will probably always be there albeit I find it very draining to write. This is why I followed Rain with Being Anti-Social, which was much easier and more enjoyable to write. I’m looking forward to getting back into The Glass Table series so I expect that will be next. I enjoy calling upon the child in me to write for children.
I found the querying process extremely frustrating, which is why I was happy to abandon it. As an independent author, there are few frustrations. The lack time to do everything I want to do to promote my books and write is probably paramount.
When lovely readers write to me, or post something on my Facebook wall, or post a review to say they enjoyed my books. These people, whether they realize it or not, make a difference. In life generally, people love to complain so when someone takes a moment to write with positive feedback, it is very much appreciated.
With your work, how do you find time to promote your books?
I see you won a “Mom’s Choice Award,” are a winner in the Literary Fiction category, 2011 Indie Excellence Awards and a Silver medalist, 2011 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) for Regional Fiction. Tell me what winning these awards means to you?
What is the best advice you could give other aspiring authors from your experience?
Firstly, to those still in pursuit of a traditional publishing contract, stop at some stage and really ask yourself why, and if all you come up with is an outdated notion of self-publishing, then re-evaluate. The process is subjective and it’s endless; you can devote years of your life to it, and end up nowhere.