I always wanted to write, but no-one ever got my style. My primary school teachers corrected my sense of humour with an angry red pen, and at high school I had my entire report card downgraded because a piece I did for ‘extra credit’ was considered too radical. Really? Radical? It was actually a true sad story of a pioneering explorer.
So I stopped writing. Stories bubbled over in me, but I never wrote a word while I spent years trying to find what to do with my life instead. I tried banking (not interesting at all), then laugh-a-minute legal, and science and mining and health; until a friend of mine asked me to enter a short story competition for a magazine. I penned 500 words on the spot. And it was radical alright. My teachers would have run out of red ink. My friend laughed her head off, and the magazine found it funny too, awarding me a selection from Elle McPherson’s lingerie range as a prize.
Seeing the potential to retire well-dressed, I settled in to write my first fiction novel, the result of which sits proudly on my shelf. Ok so only a handful of people have ever read it, and it’s only part one of a whole trilogy which will never be finished. But it became my bible on writing: when I thought I was an expert on grammar, that book kicked my butt. When I thought I knew how to construct a gripping plot, that book snored in disagreement. Above all, it taught me the value of research, even when I thought I already knew the answer.
And it gave me the confidence and skills to finally undertake the story I really want to tell: I’m expecting ‘Birds of a Feather’ to be finished in June 2016. *ahem* yes, that’s in the past.