I am always keen to learn about a fellow author’s route, from those tentative steps of composing a first piece of work, to first publication and beyond. Irrespective of age, or experience, the early days are the most difficult, as they are with most ventures.
My story may not be awe-inspiring, but I’ve reached another stage with my latest release.
Now is a good time for me to take a look back.
In 1992, following a military career of 23 years, I next took up retail management, which I did for 20 years. In the mid-90’s I started to write my military memoirs. It took over two years and the writing was abysmal. I abandoned the memoirs, and over the next few years I wrote short stories for my own amusement, not knowing anything of the required discipline.
I read short stories and books on how to write them, whilst I practised. I took out a subscription to a national writing magazine. In 2010 I won a competition and had my story included in an anthology. Poetry was left behind, as I spent every available minute producing ideas to create short stories.
I joined a website and a local writing group and learned much from having my work critiqued. I’d long had a yearning to write a novel, but felt it was beyond me. My first novel was inspired by a fellow poet on the other side of the world. We’d reviewed each other’s poetry and kept in touch. I’m delighted to say that our friendship has remained firm and we continue to support each other.
In December 2012 I published ‘Ten Days in Panama’, a romance-based thriller. I knew it wasn’t great, but I had introduced aspects of the thriller, and I knew I had to write something more exciting. It was a steep learning curve, just as it had been with short stories. I used the manuscript ‘rest’ periods as a time to continue writing short stories.
In October 2013 I published ‘Beyond The Law’, a crime thriller about a vigilante in Glasgow. During breaks from my novels, I honed my 12 best short stories to create an anthology. In May 2014 I published ‘Smoke & Mirrors and other short stories’.
When I read ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ I was disappointed in the content. I got the impression that the author had a good idea, but minimal knowledge of her subject. I am amazed at the success of that series.
I had experimented with writing erotic stories, but they’d never been seen. I thought back over my life experiences and decided I had the knowledge and imagination to adapt them and create a variety of scenarios. In June 2014 I published my second short story anthology ‘Coming Around and other erotic stories’.
My work on thrillers continued. In July 2014 I published ‘Amsterdam Calling’, a psychological thriller. Since moving on from poetry, my practice had been to work on more than one project simultaneously, so my next book was at an advanced stage.
I published ‘A Taste of Honey’ in December 2014. It was another vigilante story, but this time about a rogue female detective – in the US.
From late 2014 into early 2015 I had a handful of private messages asking if I’d ever considered writing an erotic novel. These were not random queries, but from folk who had read my erotic anthology. Just as I had with my poetry a few years before, I sensed a challenge, but once again, a challenge I relished.
In September 2015, I completed the final draft of ‘Give & Take: A Tale of Erotica’. It has sold almost daily since publication.
Whether or not I find success in the world of erotica I’ll continue to write thrillers, but there is escape in writing contrasting genre.
I would suggest to any writer who feels the urge to try a new genre – do it. Don’t let anybody hold you back with their opinions. You owe it to yourself – and your readers.
One of the greatest things we can all do as indie authors is to support our peers. Try to read other indie authors, and provide reviews. Make an effort to read widely in genre – it really does pay dividends.
Another good idea is to do as I’ve done here, and produce an occasional update on progress. It doesn’t matter if you’ve written one book so far, let people know you are out there.
As always, I thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts. Feedback is always welcome.