Who I am: A fifty-something reader, writer and all-round drama and theatre geek. I won’t bore you with the usual ‘I’ve always loved books and in particular science-fiction’ (although it happens to be true)…. long story short (ish):
What I did: In 1980, I founded the official ‘Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ appreciation society, ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha, because I wanted to join a HHGTTG fan club and there wasn’t one (or if there was, I didn’t know about it). Prior to that, I had written, edited and produced fanzines and comic strips for shows like ‘Star Trek’ ‘Buck Rogers in the 25th Century’, ‘Captain Scarlet’, run mini-conventions and generally followed my enthusiasms wherever they led me. Then I did some ‘planet normal’ stuff – got married, had a family, went to my day job and pretty much forgot about all those other exciting, extraordinary things … But when ‘Doctor Who’ regenerated in 2006 I re-discovered my Inner Geek, and by 2007 I had embraced internet fandom (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination – and if you know where that comes from then you’ll know where I’m coming from) and started to write again. For four years I talked about science-fiction and imaginative drama with like-minded people, wrote fiction based on a variety of shows and fandoms, and realised that what I’d wanted to do all along was WRITE.
Sometime during 2011 I began writing my first original fiction – a contemporary romance with a science-fiction twist, ‘All Our Yesterdays’ – which rapidly grew from a short story into a 140,000-word manuscript. I wasn’t sure if it was any good, and suspected that I needed to improve if I was to have any hope of getting it published, so I sought professional feedback from Barbara Rogan and The Writers Workshop, whose Eloise Millar told me I had promise, but recommended that I go on a creative writing course. I did – and because when I engage with an idea I never do anything by halves, I went on four of them. ‘Getting Started – Writing Fiction Online‘ and ‘Writing a Novel Online‘ with Faber Academy, ‘Craft of Character‘ with LitReactor’s David Corbett, ‘Self-Edit Your Novel‘ with The Writers Workshop… and I’ve signed up for a screen writing course with The Writers Workshop, starting in June. Like I said, I don’t do anything by halves.
I’d love to be able to say that ‘All Our Yesterdays’, (which became ‘All Our Tomorrows’ which is now ‘The Methuselah Gene’) is finished and about to be published – but it isn’t, not yet. It’s a Work in Progress, and has been set aside whilst I wait for final feedback from Faber, and to allow everything I’ve learned over the past six months to settle. I have the feeling it will be a trilogy, so it deserves fettling time! In the meantime, I’m researching for a new novel, ‘Who Killed Maggie Wren?’. And completely unlike the way I started ‘All Our Tomorrows’, which began as a ‘pantser‘ (take an idea and run with it, see where it goes – and it has been all over the place, believe me), this one is going to be researched and plotted to within an inch of its natural before I write a word.
What I do now:
I still work at my day job, and the rest of the time I read books (crime and science fiction, psychological thrillers, the odd romance, books about writing, books about people); I write (blogs, a bit on twitter, humongous emails to long-suffering writerly friends) I’ll continue to study writing, and no doubt watch a lot of telly.
What this is: It’s my portfolio (just as it says at the top). It’ll tell you a bit about me, and on subsequent pages you can see samples of some of the stuff I’ve written (but not the naff stuff from years ago, because that would be embarrassing), hints about some of the stuff I’m going to write. Some of it might be transformational writing (fan fiction) so let me say here and now, if you’re an industry professional with a vested interest – please don’t sue! I’ve never made any money and don’t want to make any money from it – it was all part of my learning curve, and I think it would be dishonest to deny its existence, or the huge part it played in my education as a writer. Look, Russell T Davies (whom I admire) wrote fan fiction – a lot of people who now work in television did too. They might not have published it online, but they still wrote it.
I want to explore it all, and maybe, if you like my style, you might ask me to write something for you… I’m a member of The Writer’s Guild, though I have never yet had a paying job – primarily because I haven’t had time to go out and look for one. I’d like to be able to give up my day job (wouldn’t we all) but that’s a big step and I have bills to pay, so softly, softly, catchee monkey. On here I will be writing about things that interest me (hopefully they might interest you, too).