Writing can be an isolating business…

Writing can be an isolating business…

A friend posted this blog yesterday, and it really made me think.

I’m an introvert, which is something many writers share.  There may a connection between the creative imagination and the way the brain works that leads us in that direction who know?

But as humans we need social experience and contact.  When I started writing Leah I didn’t tell a soul – not even my Husband or Parents, yet my Mom had always told me even as a little girl that I should write.  

Why?  Fear – of being ridiculed, of having expectations laid at my door that would stifle the creativity and cause too my pressure.  Those that know me in the professional world would be surprised at that – I work hard, and thrive under a certain type of pressure, but that is just it – that is work.  Writing is part of me, and a part that very few people get to see.

When I won my publishing contract I finally found the nerve to tell those closest to me, I’d told my husband after writing 25,000 words, to explain that it wasn’t really my paid job that was keeping me at the computer at all hours.  I told my parents and my sister when I won the competition, and they were delighted for me, and on the day Leah finally came out I “went public” including in the dreaded playground where my daughter goes to school…

My family were hugely supportive, my cousins ordered copies online and read it, my parents, both of them, read and claim to love it, despite it being YA/NA.  One of my daughters friends is probably my biggest fan, having read it now NINE times – despite only being 9.  My husband however has never read it, and probably never will.  He hates anything connected to the Paranormal, so I guess I need to excuse him, but yes it still hurts, and makes me find it difficult to justify another expense on something writing related.  Our nephew even wrote a brilliant piece of music, named “Leah” for use exclusively to market the book – the introduction is now part of the book trailer, which you can find on my website.

So, what right do I have to empathise and associate with Tricia’s comments?  There are people who have never once mentioned to me about the book, no congratulations or even acknowledgment of this achievement.  If I heard that a friend, family member or even colleague had just achieved something, I would offer my honest congratulations – achievement is a wonderful thing, and we are all different, so regardless of what it is, if it is something they worked hard to do, it deserves congratulations!  I associate with Tricia’s comments though because I now dread having to admit that Book Two isn’t ready to be released yet, and it is so difficult to explain why I struggle to write at the moment, when Leah came so easily.  That’s sharing too much of myself, and what’s going on with me for comfort.

You see, amongst friends there has been a change, rather than the usual catching up conversation you have – in my experience there are now two questions that people start a conversation with the “why are you still working, surely you got paid a huge amount now your a published author” type of question, and the inevitable “when is the next one coming out”.  People will avoid me because they don’t quite know what to say, they find it “funny” that I write Fantasy, and see it as immature and easy (!).  Others avoid me because writing is also their own dream, and jealousy is driving a wedge between us.

To an introvert who values her few friends and her family deeply, anything that drives a wedge, or is the cause of ridicule, or just puts pressure on what was a good relationship, is likely to cause further withdrawal, leading to further isolation.  Many of my friends are online, and have been made during the writing journey, and can completely associate with the experiences I’ve had, yet even to these I’ve struggled to be able to explain, and therefore start to withdraw from.

One of the things that really struck a chord with me though in Tricia’s piece here was the expectations that go with it.  In general, people only really hear about the multi million sellers, or the author that got a six figure advance.  Those stories are so far and few, that’s why they are news, but the perception is that this is the norm.  Therefore, if you are published and not living that lifestyle then you must be a failure.

As many of you will know, there was no huge advance – or advance of any kind.  Statisticians claim that 95% of published books receive no advance, so I am in very good company there.   Leah was published by a small independent publisher who, to this day, has never paid me a penny (or cent) of what I am owed.  Yet, I know how many paperbacks family bought – my Mum proudly ordered and posted to aunts and uncles to start with!  I also know from rankings that the ebook sold too, so I should have earned something by now.  As Tricia says, when there is no visible payoff to all the work that goes into writing and marketing that novel, people begin to question, and resent the time dedicated to it.

Leah is no longer under contract to that company.  We parted ways at the end of 2013, and it is now being released elsewhere, however the experience has left me feeling used, and cynical about the whole thing, which is a death knell to creativity.

But, I wrote a book that was considered good enough to win a competition for a publishing contract – and that people have since bought and enjoyed.  I have people genuinely ask me when they can read the next one, which means that something must be right in the first one, doesn’t it?

So why do I feel as though I’m letting people down?  As though I’m the failure?  Not one single member of my family or closest friends has said it to me, although there have been the “it needs to wait until next month, or a few months” comments when I want to buy something, but there is a voice in the back of my head repeating it like a stuck tape, and that is destructive.

We are our own hardest taskmaster and critic – that is certainly true of me anyway, but I have love and support from those closest to me, most of the time anyway, and my heart and love goes to those who are struggling along this path without it.

 

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Where does the time go? An apology…

I’ve realised I’ve been neglecting you guys of late, and for that I am really sorry.  There’s no real excuse for it either, other than the pressures of the real world…

Life has been pretty hectic lately, with work and family life conspiring to keep me distracted from this blog, and my writing.

However, I thought it was time to share the news I’ve been harbouring for a few weeks now…

My book, Leah, Book One of the Worlds Apart Series, is no longer published by Taylor Street Books.  Instead, as of later today, it is published by Rose Wall Publications 🙂

The Kindle version will be available to download later today, but as it has had a major new redesign, and a fantastic cover (which I’m giving you a sneak peak of below), it could be a few weeks before the new paperback is out.

I’m offering signed copies to advance orders though, so if you’d like one, send me a message through my webpage and I’ll let you know the details.

This is a hugely exciting time for us, and I hope you’ll enjoy what is to come.

Here’s the new cover image – what do you think?

Image

Castle of Dreams – Week Eight

Hello again.  Firstly let me apologise for the slight hiatus in this series, “Worlds Apart – Leah” has been on tour, and in fact today is the very last day.

More about that in a separate post, as I’m sure you would like to hear from this week’s guest author.

This week I am delighted to welcome Kay Kauffman, a fellow member of the Alliance of Worldbuilders.  I asked Kay what she would like me to tell you all about her, and I quote:

“A geek to the core, I reside in the midst of a corn field with my husband & four kids, where I pen fantastical tales of twue wuv and procrastinate online.”

I don’t think that needs any further comment, do you? 😀

Kay’s piece comes from the world within her wonderful book The Lokana Chronicles, so without further delay, let’s go straight to it.

 

Eridani Tolhana wandered through the great palace, seeing it as if for the first time.  Though she had lived in the great walled city of Lokana all her life, everything suddenly felt new and different, and it was all Michael’s fault.

Nothing had felt right since he’d shown up.  His strange dress, his even stranger actions, and the way he somehow knew the secret language that only she and her mother understood made her uneasy right from the start.  But she couldn’t stop thinking about him; everything she saw seemed to remind her of him, making even her home feel…foreign.  It was no longer the comfortable place she had grown up knowing.

Michael’s face drifted through her thoughts as she meandered down the Grand Corridor, and she tried to block it out.  She didn’t want to think about him, especially not after the argument she’d had with her parents.  They’d forbidden her to see him again.  It had been centuries since a princess had been locked away in one of the dungeons in the old stone towers of the palace, but she wondered if her father would keep her there if she defied him in this.  What a silly rule, anyway, she scoffed silently.  The palace may be large, but I’m bound to run into him eventually, no matter how careful I am.  What then?  I can’t avoid him forever.

The painted eyes and stone faces of her ancestors watched her as she passed them by.  The hairs on the back of her neck rose to attention and she quickened her pace.  She hated the Grand Corridor with its memorial to all the rulers of old and avoided it whenever possible; why she had chosen to wander through it today when she didn’t have to was a mystery even to her.  The tapestried walls of any other room or hallway were far more welcoming, she thought, without the prying eyes of the dead watching her every move.

But as she left the Grand Corridor, her thoughts returned to Michael.  Specifically, her thoughts returned to the way his arms felt when they had been wrapped around her and how she hadn’t wanted him to let go of her.  Light spilled out into the hallway from the rooms beyond as she continued on toward the patio near the library.  Maybe some fresh air will help.

Eridani emerged a few moments later into a sunlit courtyard surrounded by flowers and trees.  She loved the palace gardens as much as her mother and grandfather before her and often sought the comfort of nature when something troubled her.  The flower fountain her mother had planted as a girl was one of her favorite features; she used to sit for hours inhaling the sweet scent of the roses as they waved back and forth in the summer breeze.

But today, the roses could not soothe her, and all the sunlight and blue sky in the world were not enough to rid her of the feeling that something very bad was about to happen.

 

Kay that was wonderful, Thank You.  I’ve always loved reading your work.

I hope you all enjoyed that as much as I did – to read more about Kay and her work, take a look at these links here:

Blog: http://suddenlytheyalldied.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorkaykauffman

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kaysielynn

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kaylkauffman

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/kaykauffman

I look forward to talking to you all again soon.

Castle of Dreams – Week Seven

Hello again!

I hope you all enjoyed Lisa’s Timeless view of an Irish manor post last week?

This week I thought I should treat you all to my very own castle of dreams, or perhaps I should say Leah’s nightmares?

Kenilworth Castle is one of the most magnificent castle ruins in England. An English Heritage site, it combines renovated buildings as well as those left to ruin.

It once stood, surrounded by a man made lake, in an Estate covering over 4,000 acres of predominantly hunting grounds. Owned by many rich and powerful families it was also visited by Queen Elizabeth the First.

So, why is it special to me I hear you ask? Well, I’ve been fortunate enough to live here in Warwickshire for most of my life, and I have many fond memories of family walks, through the dark and brooding ruins, or the grounds with our pet Spaniel frolicking around us. The Boxing Day duck race, and Pooh sticks under the bridge are all part and parcel of the fun. Now it is home to Abbey Fields, one of the best sledging areas in the region when we are fortunate to have enough snow. My daughter is now the one building wonderful childhood memories of Kenilworth, as I hope generations will to come.

To find out more, take a look at their website

Anyone who knows the Castle and town will recognise it easily from my book, but, given that this blog is about dreams, I would like to share a small passage from Leah, showing an unknown side to this magnificent castle..

Worlds Apart – Leah.. An excerpt.

We were back at the castle, in one of my favourite spots with the huge old tree shielding the area from the worst of the elements, and the grass around it continually trying to defy any attempt at cultivation. I looked around, concerned that a member of the public would spot us. How on earth could I explain the appearance of my Mother to another human being? But as I looked at her, I realised that she had transformed, into the familiar body that I loved so much. Unless they knew, anyone watching us right now would simply see a mother and daughter enjoying the ruins together.

Or so I thought.

That is, until Mom walked behind the tree, pressing one of the iron support bolts in the ruins, she opened a doorway into the ruin that I had never seen, or at least never noticed before. As we entered I saw a steep flight of stairs descending in a spiral, and I followed my mother cautiously, wary both of where we were going and what was about to happen.

Although we passed a few more of the Seraphs, none seemed to either acknowledge or be concerned by our presence, and I couldn’t help wondering if the image of my mother that I could now see was some kind of projection – so that humans saw the human image, and Seraphs saw one of their own. I wasn’t going to get that answer quickly though, as we descended further into the darkness.

Finally, she led the way into a small room. Faint daylight streamed through a vent near to the ceiling, but it was not big enough to provide the light that filled the room. I looked around, at the light coloured, gothic style chairs and table. Every flat surface had glass globes standing on it, each one containing what I could only assume was a candle of some sort, as the entire ball was filled with golden light.

She gestured to one of the chairs, and reluctantly I sat down. The last thing I wanted right now was a simple cosy chat. I needed answers, not platitudes.

“Be patient, Leah, all in good time” came her response. I looked at her in surprise, I could have sworn that her mouth had not moved, and yet I’d heard her voice clearly.

“Stop fighting it Leah, you know what’s happening.” There it was again, and this time I knew that she hadn’t spoken, I’d been looking directly at her.

“How…what is happening?” I asked, attempting to follow her lead. She smiled at the attempt, despite the fact it had half been thought, the other half said.

“Take it slowly sweetheart, you’ve a lot of catching up to do. First I need you to drink this, it will help you to relax and access your powers. I shall then take us both on a journey so that you get your questions answered.” She responded.

Despite everything that had happened, and all that I had seen, I instinctively accepted the warm drink that she offered.

The scent of herbs filled my nostrils – I could detect rosemary, ginger, wild mint and a few others that I could not name. It was invigorating at the same time as calming. As I sipped, the warmth coursed through me, every nerve was awake, and yet I did not feel agitated. Instead I felt alive, more alert than I had ever felt before. I waited, expectantly, anticipating a story that revealed the truth. The reality was completely different.

###

Sorry folks, have to end it there, I can’t go spoiling the story now can I?

If you’ve enjoyed it so far, you can buy the book here:

UK and Europe

USA

My website is here

Or you can follow me on Twitter ( @RoseWall15) and Facebook
Book Page
Author Page

If you’re reading this, you’ve already found my blog, so feel free to follow 🙂

I hope you have enjoyed sharing my Castle of Dreams. See you next week.

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