When I was at school, my English teacher and I had a false start (I was 12) when she didn’t believe I’d written the sensual poem I showed her (I literally had no experience with boys)… Two years later, she declared I was the most talented writer she’d ever taught (she was possibly prone to exaggeration, haha), and encouraged me to become an author. “You could write for Mills & Boon right now,” she said. That was funny – firstly, there was no internet in those days, so I didn’t even know how to contact them… plus at the age of 14, I had still never even so much as kissed a boy, let alone gained the knowledge and experience to write a romance novel!
So I pushed that idea to the side and spent the next twenty or so years doing a variety of other things. I left my ‘sensible’ career in marketing/PR a number of times, each time declaring, “I’ll never work in an office again!” travelling the world and pursuing singing, dancing, acting, teaching, studying French full-time in Paris, working on cruise ships, and even starting my own spray-tan business… before eventually ending up broke each time and working back in an office again.
I always had a creative fire which needed to be fuelled, and it took until I fell pregnant a few years ago for me to finally say to my husband, “I’m ready to write a book now.” People had often suggested I write a book about my life, but a memoir hadn’t felt right. I knew I was a fiction author. I’ve always been a voracious reader, and throughout the years, when I’d had jobs which required writing of different types, I’d had a number of comments about my writing ability… so I set out to write my first novel.
I toyed with several different ideas. One idea was a historical romance, inspired by my Grandparents meeting before WWII, and while that is still on the cards for later, the timing didn’t feel right. I want that to be ‘epic’, and I felt I wouldn’t be able to pull it off without some writing maturity, so to speak. So I thought about different characters, different storylines, and what I would enjoy reading, and the choice was obvious. I’d write chick lit – despite people declaring the genre to be dead, I’ve always enjoyed it myself, and felt confident others would too.
“Hmmmm, what would I write about first?” I asked myself. When I thought back through my life, my cruise ship experience jumped out. My goodness, so many salacious, funny, and dramatic things happen on cruise ships – it would be the perfect choice! Through my publicist, during the pre-release period, most media have focussed very much on the ‘real life’ side of my book, which have made it sound more like an autobiography… but at least it’s done. I’m a (self) published writer!
And now I’m glad the book has been released. I’m hoping that it will start to come into its own as a piece of fiction, worked on by an author who just wanted to create a fun, sexy, well-written novel for women wanting to escape to a bit of light entertainment. I’m hoping I get readers who will enjoy and review my novel, and help me get on track to author-ville, not washed up cruise-worker-central! I’m also hoping people will want to read the sequel, which I’m working on now. It follows the same main character, but it won’t all be about cruise ships…
So I’m keen to hear from other writers – how did you come to write your first book? If you’ve been wanting to write a book but haven’t, what is holding you back? If you’re primarily a reader, what kind of book are you currently keen to read?