A writer’s life is a switchback rather than a steady climb. I began my professional career writing and publishing poetry, fiction in the form of short stories and a couple of novels. Then I got sidetracked by plays of all kinds and some non fiction. However, about twelve years ago, I went back to fiction in a big way and have since published seven more novels, written lots more short stories and published several mini-collections of short fiction in eBook form. I write well researched historical and contemporary fiction. At least some – but by no means all – of my novels could be described as ‘grown up love stories’.
Somebody once told me that my work was ‘too well written to be really popular but not nearly experimental enough to be really literary.’ When I’d picked myself up off the floor, I decided to get on with writing what interested me. Oddly enough, it seemed to interest a lot of other people as well, although an agent (elderly, male, grumpy) once told me that one of my novels was ‘a library novel fit only for housewives’ – a hilariously comprehensive insult.
For years the breadth and variety of the work I wanted to do seemed to be a drawback. But change came with the new millennium. Now, more and more writers are learning from other creative industries, refusing to be cast in a single mould but adopting a much more flexible approach. I’m happily involved in a mixture of traditional and independent publishing and have taken part in several advice sessions on self publishing for the Society of Authors in Scotland.
I think we mostly write for love – but we neglect the business side of writing at our peril.