Thanks for having me on your blog, Richard.
I’m 72 and wish I’d done this publishing thing years ago when I could keep up with the techy stuff. But then I could never have self-published, and I certainly didn’t have the courage or the knowhow to find an agent or publisher before the days of ALLi, Amazon and Create Space/KDP. Not only that, but there is so much knowledge available now about the writing process, editing, self-publishing and marketing. It’s been quite an eye-opener reading all the blogs and forums! Thanks to everyone who so generously shares their help and knowledge.
I wrote at school. When I should have been doing prep or practising piano. Reams and reams of paper – I occasionally have an urge to purge, but some of it is not bad for a 15 year-old and I have fun re-reading it and not much purging goes on. I just loved writing stories and didn’t much care that nobody but me read them. I’ve been writing stories ever since—always with romance at the heart—between long bouts of career stuff, secretarial, administration and HR (called Personnel Manager in those far off 1960’s days) my own romance, marriage, children, grandchildren and just a few other time-consuming commitments along the way. Who doesn’t have those!
In 1991 my husband and I had a rush of blood to the head and built our dream home on a Greek island. He provided the loot and I provided the micro management. (Must move that door 2 inches to the left.) Greek builders left a lot to be desired, but the minutiae of design enthralled me, as does TV’s Grand Designs now. As we moved in, I began a romance, Dolphin Days, based in Greece, which over the next, wait for it, 26 years grew to 190,000 words, the protagonists moving between Greece, London and my home ground, Scotland.
Eventually the Romantic Novelists Association and my wonderful editor Hilary Johnson persuaded me to lose 90,000 words (such agony; so many sub plots lost, and characters amalgamated) but Hilary was greatly encouraging and kicked me towards publication. Dolphin Days arrived IN PRINT and Kindle in December 2017. My book pregnancy was long, difficult and nearly still-born on several occasions, but Oh! The triumph of having given birth!
Here is a brief synopsis:
Artistic young antique dealer Melissa fails to recover a precious Byzantine manuscript stolen from her in Greece. Instead she finds herself accused of theft by wealthy architect Nicholas.
Struggling with financial disaster, a dangerous attraction to an embittered Nicholas, and guilt over a family tragedy, Melissa is determined to put the past behind her and sets out on a new career in design and illustration.
But it seems that Nicholas has not only destroyed her career as an antique dealer; but that his unwanted interventions may wreck her new plans too.
Melissa is tempted to trade her talents and career for the security of marriage to
A word about marketing: Uh?
If I had realised what marketing meant I’d never have published. Friends, family and Richard Dee’s Showcase to the rescue.
I know that you have to market your own work, if you want anyone to read it. But an awful lot of us don’t want to, and if computers are not your default environment, it is very difficult as well as horrible. The fact is, people like me enjoy writing stories that I’d like to read. Is there anybody out there like me? If so, please go to Amazon and take a ‘Look Inside’.
For someone of my age, reading and writing influences have been, as you may imagine, a bit old fashioned. As a melancholic teenager I adored Thomas Hardy. Later Mary Stewart, Georgette Heyer, Wilkie Collins, Jane Austin, Dumas, Margaret Irwin, Tolkein, Elizabeth Goudge, M. M. Kaye, and Dorothy Dunnett. And a hundred others.
I love historical novels and biographies, fantasy (a bit), thrillers, women’s fiction. Anything, really, except horror, gory anything, erotica and sci-fi. (Sorry Richard. As a thank you for this slot I will buy and read one of yours.)
As an unread, unpublished writer, how on earth does one know if anyone will want to read your novel? I was very reluctant to spend much money on such an unknown quantity, so I used SelfPubBookCovers.com This time around I have invested in a professional cover designer, Jane Dixon Smith www.jdsmith-design.co.uk as well as a structural editor and copy and proof editors. And I think I’ll use a professional formatter too! I’m incredibly detail obsessed and nearly lost my mind formatting Dolphin Days. Leave page numbering to those who understand it.
This second novel, Come in from the Cold, will hopefully be born about mid-summer. Here is a brief description:
During World War 2, John Elliott, an RNR officer on convoys to Russia from Scotland, is billeted on nineteen-year-old Mhairi. After his children die in a bombing raid, John is killed on convoy, leaving his wife pregnant. Mhairi is also pregnant, but by John or by the rape of dangerous and manipulative Archie? Mhairi is suspected, but not convicted, of Archie’s murder.
After the birth of her son, the condemnation of the community and her violent father’s return from war combine to drive her to a new life and loveless marriage.
In 2012, Annie Devereux, divorced and humiliated as a barren wife, retreats to Scotland to research John Elliott, her step-grandfather. Meeting David, a widowed father and grandson of Mhairi, friendship and attraction develop as they search for answers.
David, still mourning his wife, makes plain he wants no more children; Annie is equally clear that she cannot conceive. Shocked to discover that she is pregnant by David and faced with a dilemma, she takes the unwise decision not to tell him. Discovering the truth shatters his trust in her. Their daughter’s birth and near-fatal illness
The all important Links,
Dolphin Days is available from Amazon.
In the UK. http://amzn.eu/0OjJiy8
In the US. http://a.co/75x1G3J
In due course, Come In From The Cold will be available from Amazon as well.
My thanks to this weeks guest for a great post. I hope you all enjoyed it.
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Have a good week,