This week found me being interviewed for Diva Mag Online… check it out here! INTERVIEW
I almost forgot in all the excitement of hitting number one and then the success of the S.C.L.H.O at the weekend.
Last year, I entered my book, The Promise, into the G.C.L.S goldie awards because Annette Mori read it and told me I had to…Now, I am not usually one for these kinds of things but… The Promise is a book that I hold dear. I wrote it for my parents, both of whom are no longer with me and our family. Its not about them, Ali and Susan’s story is very different, but it was written for them… my little nod to their love story and how my Dad’s death from Cancer impacted my mother’s life.
So, I have no idea how these things work and I thought that the shortlisted finalists had already been announced, I checked the website weeks ago and didn’t find my name so, I sighed audibly and made another cup of coffee and brushed it all off with an ‘Oh well never mind’… Imagine then my surprise when I am awoken at 3.30 am by my phone beeping. Bleary-eyed i reach out for the phone and flick the screen on, blinded momentarily by the bright light. I see an email, sleepily I open it, read through it quickly and think… Oops someone sent it to the wrong person.
And I promptly went back to sleep.
In the morning, I woke with that funny feeling like you’ve dreamt something so real, you have to check it out. I picked up my phone and sure enough, the email was real and it said Congratulations!!
My little heart started beating more rapidly and I quickly found the website and there it was… Lesbian Romance (Short Novel) The Promise by Claire Highton-Stevenson.
So, I’ve no idea if it will win. Its up against some wonderful writers and books, but I’m going to really hope for this one. If I never win another award in my lifetime, but this, I will be happy.
Many thanks to all of you who have dared to read it. I know its emotive, it makes you cry and then smile. It will always be my favourite book.
I never set out to write a novel. I’d been reading fanfic and fancied giving it a go but I didn’t think I could do justice to the characters. (Jane and Maura from Rizzoli & Isles.)
So, I did the next best thing and wrote out the What if story that had been floating about in my head for months as I drove around the Southern part of the UK delivering blood. I had a broken leg and was bored just sitting around with my leg stuck up in the air, so I grabbed my laptop and started to write it out. If anything, it took my mind off the boredom.
I thought, like most things in my life, that I’d get bored about 20 minutes in, but no! It just kept flowing. All these words tumbled out of me and when I finally finished months later, I had this story in front of me and no idea what to do with it. So, it got left in a file on my laptop and forgotten about for a while because then I had this idea for another story. Before I knew it, I had several first draft stories written out. Full of mistakes, typos and terrible grammar, but still it was something! (that’s still the case today without the help of Michelle Arnold, my friend and fellow author who edits all my books for me.)
I then spent months debating with myself whether to put them out there for people to read. I knew I couldn’t ever publish them, not without someone reading them and fixing them, but what was the point of going to all that trouble if they were a load of rubbish anyway…So, eventually I plucked up the courage and I uploaded to one of those sites for free fiction. And people liked it!!
I re-wrote it and re-wrote it. And they still liked it!
Of course, every review started with a comment on the grammar issues and whatnot, but the consensus was that it was a good story. So, I uploaded some others and by the time I’d finished I had ten or more stories on that site and never got a bad review. So, I re-wrote it again before I let my friend Michelle read and yep, you guessed it… she pointed out the grammar, but then she said let me fix it!
Before I knew it, she had convinced me to publish it!
The most nerve-wracking thing I have ever done. Now, I have five books published and the sixth is coming very soon and I finally feel like I can officially call myself an author!
So, I say to anyone with an idea in their head… Give it a go!!
This post is part of the WLW Author Blog Hop Series entitled Writing my first novel each blog post will link to another author so you can discover more about how they wrote their first novel.
Learn how Kit Eyre’s attitude to office politics and procedures resulted in But By Degrees becoming her first published novel. Kit Eyre is an author with a proclivity for Yorkshire women (despite her wife being a Lancastrian). She likes her romance with a huge dollop of “something else” and has so far published two novels. www.kiteyre.co.uk
My next venture into the world of self-publishing will see me release my first murder mystery!
I’ve always been a fan of them and read them voraciously for years, never assuming that I could actually write one. They are quite different from the usual romance genre that I love. But, I challenged myself to give it a go and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of it (if my beta readers have told me the truth 🙂 )
So, in the coming weeks, I will be introducing D.I. Sophie Whitton as she prepares to find The Doll Maker.
To find out more and get a sneak preview of the first chapter, sign up to my newsletter
So, October is Coming Out Month! In the USA… In the UK it’s not until February.
But it got me thinking about my own coming out. I’d love to say it was exciting. A large banner from an aeroplane as it glided above my parent’s house during a family BBQ! An entire page ad in The Times announcing my Sapphic tendencies… or even a conversation filled with angst and drama.
But in actual fact, it was all quite simple. I am one of those lucky people that didn’t need to make a proclamation. I just dropped into conversation that I was bringing my girlfriend around and the world kept turning.
That’s not to say that things were easy for teenage Claire. The teenage me still had that fear of being different. That worry that all my friends would assume I fancied them! That anytime I’d ever hugged them had been some kind of surreptitious way of feeling them up! And the thought of going out and finding people like me just seemed terrifying, ya see, being shy was almost a bigger issues than being gay!
The idea of talking to someone was scarier than any declaration of my sexuality. Never mind the idea that if I managed to actually get past the talking issue, I’d have to think about the next terrifying moment; being naked with someone else!
But I digress, Coming Out to my family was the easy part… It’s the continual coming out that I found was worse. Every new friend, every new Job, It’s never-ending just how many times you have to Come Out. But keep doing it!
I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but in my world, here in the countryside of Sussex in the UK… It’s not so difficult anymore. The world is changing, even if the people around you right now are not. There is a place for you.
So, as I lie in my bed; laptop actually on my lap, gazing out of the window at the clouds drifting in across the bay of Naples, I realise that I am ready to come home.
It’s been lovely. I have spent time relaxing, sunning myself and eating far too much. I even managed to get some writing done and make friends with some of the loveliest and funniest people. I don’t think any of us will forget last night in a hurry!! 😉
But as much as I love Gelato, G&Ts on the terrace and pizza bigger than my head, I miss the cats, my friends and waking up in my own bed. I miss sitting in my office and listening to the birds and the distant hum of traffic.
I have a busy few weeks coming up. Weddings and Children’s parties along with getting two books ready to publish, it is going to be manic, so these two weeks of summertime bliss have been perfect.
For anyone interested. We stayed at the Don Pedro, on Ischia Island. It’s wonderful and a writers dream. Imagine an Agatha Christie murder mystery and you’re halfway there! Its quaint and traditional, family run and bursting with characters everywhere you look. English, Germans and Italians mainly, it’s been vibrant and a little noisy at times but such fun.
And did I mention thermal pool? Where the water is heated by the lava from the volcano and pumped into the pool, making it warm and inviting even when the clouds roll in!
We overlook the little harbour that’s often filled with SuperYachts. Where the restaurant tables and chairs are often flooded as each boat comes into dock. You take your life in your hands anytime you need to cross a road. The aggressive Italian driver is real! 🙂 The shuttle bus from town to the hotel has to be one of the best and scariest experiences of my life! They stop for no one! Every car has a dent or scrape. Health & Safety? Doesn’t exist! Its been somewhat refreshing in every way.
But, tomorrow we have to back up at 5a.m. to take the ferry to Naples and then the Plane home. I’ll be grouchy and tired and I can’t wait!