I’ve been blogging here for years now – my first post was so far back I can’t find it – and I’ve loved every one. I’m doing a school visit as well today, something I never imagined that I would be doing. So I thought I’d take the chance on this – my last ever post for Girls Heart Books – to tell you how an impossible dream came true.
I wasn’t very good at English at school. My spelling was terrible, and I could never remember the corrections so made the same mistake again and again. My stories and essays used to come back covered in red ink, and I was delighted to give it up after my ‘O’ Level and concentrate on the sciences. I didn’t think about writing stories again until decades later.
By then I had kids, and we had a house full of books. Although I’d not written any fiction I had continued reading anything I could get my hands on, and was delighted that both my children loved reading too. My daughter was particularly keen, and was busy reading the Twilight books. I took one on my commute to see what it was that had so captured her imagination.
It was an easy, page-turning read. Fast-paced and packed full of American references that my eleven-year-old couldn’t possibly understand, it didn’t strike me as being particularly difficult to write. How much more fun would it be for her, I thought, to have a book filled with places which she actually knew? I decided to give it a go.
Every day during my commute I sat on the train and wrote on my phone, inventing a story which I thought she might enjoy, filling it with her friends and teachers, set in Twickenham and London. I made the main character a girl of seventeen – the age she would love to be – and set about creating a believable, or at least readable, tale.
It took six months, and some brutal feedback from my husband, and finally the book was finished. I printed out two copies and got them bound – Small Blue Thing had been born.
I gave them to my daughter on her birthday (it’s always helpful to have a deadline!), and awaited her verdict. Had I wasted all those months? I hoped not, as had really enjoyed writing it and had plans for a sequel or two. Thankfully she loved it, and then so did her friends as she leant the books out. Having written a personal story for an audience of one, I was persuaded to see about getting it published. I asked a contact of a friend for a professional opinion, and was stunned when she said that she wanted to set up her own publishing company and publish my book as their first title! Then she asked how the story progressed. I told her my (very brief) ideas for the sequels. Almost overnight I went from someone who had written no fiction at all for over thirty years to a debut novelist with a three book contract. A whole new career stretched before me.
So with no training except for years of reading, a dream which I didn’t know that I had has come true. I’ve had four books published so far (the Small Blue Thing trilogy and The Beneath), and have two others at draft stage. This week I’m submitting my first adult novel to agents. I would never have believed this if someone had told me ten years ago. So if you want to write a book, the only thing to do is write it. Get your pen or laptop or phone out now and give it a go. No-one else will ever tell that story better than you. Good luck!
I intend to carry on blogging on my own site – hopefully at least monthly as I do here. Join me at www.sueransom.com and let me know how you get on. Xxx