Back from my short break…

In December 2015, just after I published  The Book Ark II – Children of the Universe I decided to take a break, I was approaching my 50th birthday and, to be honest, I had become rather disillusioned with my lifelong ambition of being an author. I have been writing since I was a child, seriously so since I was in my twenties but a huge lack of confidence meant I did not seek publication in any form until I was in my late forties, and then only thanks to the encouragement and confidence-building support of my husband. A few years of self publishing (I have never really sought a traditional publisher or agent for my work as yet, though I am now – as we might say “in the market” for such 😉 ) left me rather battered and bruised, as I found it a huge crowded bear market of too many writers and far too few readers. Although I enjoyed a modicum of success, and my work has been rapturously received by its readers, one of the hard truths is you only realise pennies from your book sales (my current income is 28p a book, which is less than the minimum wage in China, I believe 😉 ) and people very rarely give you feedback (which is worth far more than gold to a writer) You labour for months, if not years, to produce a book and for people not to even utter a word on how they enjoyed it (or didn’t) is completely soul destroying at times. You produce your novel, which is akin to a child, and set it free into the world to rarely hear from it again. Some readers are extremely generous and leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads or the like; some email/leave word on Facebook or your website, or tell you when they see you how they received your work – for the most part, you hear nothing. I am not quite sure why that is, perhaps it is readers don’t have the words, don’t think their opinion matters, or simply just don’t think… but, dear reader, let me assure you, whomever the author is, however big and famous, your feedback on their book counts – seriously counts – because it is for you that we write the book. It is for you we pour our heart and soul into a story, toil away day after day for months on end – and as with any entertainer, we seek our round of applause… maybe even a standing ovation, if our work deserves such. Unfortunately, the only sound an author hears is generally a deafening silence, or at best the odd solitary clap from a fan with a voice… and that isn’t very much to keep one going and produce another book.

Despite taking myself off to pastures new by setting up my upcycling company FABB FADS and refashioning myself as a furniture artist (which I find pays much better and strangely elicits far more by way of feedback) I have found that my brain is very much still a writer and hasn’t stopped producing stories, and rather good ones at that. I have tried to shut it up, ignore its bardmanship, muffle its terrific plots and perfect characters but to no avail, I admit defeat and am subjecting myself to its command once more, as the mere robotic typist, the translator of brainwave to screen and paper.  This may sound rather reluctant and melancholic, but it isn’t really – I still LOVE storytelling with a passion, I find – perhaps all I needed was a break. On top of my brain not getting the hint to stop with the plots, I have recently had a wave of serendipitous encounters with people who have read or heard about my work and other strange things that go bump in the night which seem hellbent on dragging me, kicking and screaming, back to the keyboard… and then there are the stalwart fans who have never stopped nagging me for the next book – especially those Book Ark lovers, yes, book III is long overdue…

In short the girl is back with a pen in her hand and she is far from afraid to use it… and worse than that she is over 50 and has found the full liberation being over that bloody awful hill brings – the grass most definitely is artistically greener on the other side – she is now cruising down the river of middle age in a self-propelled canoe, seeking all the adventure it can throw at her  😉

Just so you know… I have started work on a black comedy called The Roald Dahl Care Plan For Elderly Parents” and if I survive the writing of that I will be writing The Book Ark III – Enemies of the Book…

J x

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4 thoughts on “Back from my short break…

  1. judyparker1 says:

    Ooh, I’m now itching to read your books! These few paragraphs above are so beautifully written that I enjoyed reading even this! Can you give us the link for your books?? x

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