I have been asked many times how I arrived at the decision to write full time. It has been an exciting journey. Not an easy one, but one that I would repeat in a heartbeat were I offered the chance.
In this series of posts, I would like to share the journey; from television specialist, to the written page.
I hope you enjoy the trip as the journey unfolds.
Starting the Journey. (Part 1)
From a very early age I loved reading and writing. My parents were not big consumers of fiction novels, so the available sources of material were limited. I remember becoming very excited when the school book club brochure would arrive. Poring over the available titles, I would come up with a wish list of around half-a-dozen ‘must have’ books. These were carefully selected, not merely because of their interesting story lines, but because of their size. A thicker book, with more pages, offered a longer reading experience.
Needless to say, on most occasions, only one of my suggestions was purchased. This would remain my reading staple until a birthday or Christmas provided reinforcements.
I vividly recall several instances when ‘lights out and make sure you go to sleep,’ was called long before the end of a chapter. Before my father would check in to ensure the sleep command was being obeyed, I would slide down under the bed covers with my book and a weak beamed torch, determined to find out what happened next.
Hiding my reading accompanied hiding my writing. My parents had no problem with me sitting down and concocting a tale out of thin air. It was just that, with three other siblings, I had little chance of an interested audience. When I did manage to twist an ear to listen, the ability to get out more than a sentence before being interrupted was rare. To gain an audience for a whole page of my narrative was near on impossible.
And paper was another issue. It wasn’t a commodity that flowed in any great abundance. Notebooks would be kept by my parents for shopping lists and suchlike, but reams of blank writing paper just didn’t exist.
It must be remembered that ‘the sixties’ was pre photocopy machines and home printers. Notes from school would come home smelling of spirits from the copy machine; the reverse side of the paper so stained with purple that it was of little use for anything other than doodles and maps of fake worlds.
I developed an ingenious solution, but one which fostered secrecy with my writing. I would carefully prise away a few unused pages from the centre of one of my school exercise books, and form them into a standalone booklet of blank pages. This was then secreted away to avoid the inevitable telling off.
After many house moves and the family relocating halfway around the world, none of my original efforts survive.
Looking back, I now realise that my passion was more than just for reading and writing. I became entranced by the ability to concoct a story, purely from a writer’s imagination, and relay that story to people in a way that makes it believable. That from the writer’s mind, whole worlds could be created and made to come to life in the telling. Wonderful.