Clinging to the notion that I may still be classed as ‘middle-aged’ (although I think the chances of me reaching 114 are, to put it modestly, remote), I have, for most of my years, wanted to be a published author. In common with so many others who are reading this, I have sweated over a hot keyboard, drafting, re-drafting, editing, tweaking, anguishing and, finally, daring to send my work off to agents and publishers, only to face the disappointment of (yet another) rejection.
Then, one glorious day in April, the email of my dreams arrived telling me that Etopia Press wanted to publish my ghostly short story, ‘In My Lady’s Chamber’, as an e-book. Much leaping up and down, Facebooking, Tweeting, Texting and general celebration followed and, soon afterwards, the editing rounds began. Only those crazy enough to be writers can even begin to guess how much work, time and effort go into the polishing of 6,500 words, let alone 30,000 or 60,000+.
A few weeks later and the incredible happened – my story was published, people are now buying it and are very kind.
Then an even more amazing thing happened. Another publishing contract arrived, for my novella ‘Cold Revenge’, followed almost immediately by two more contracts - this time from Gypsy Shadow – for my short stories, ‘Say A Little Prayer’ and ‘The Dust Storm’.
By now, the celebrations and leaping up and down have reached epic proportions and people I work with and know, are starting to wonder how long I’ll carry on working.
“When are you giving up the job then?”
“Well now you’re an author you won’t need to go out to work, will you?”
“Um, well, I do actually.”
Looks of incredulity follow…
I know I don’t need to tell anyone here that, far from adhering to Dr Johnson’s pronouncement that, ‘No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money’, most of us think of the royalties we may one day receive as a welcome bonus. I will be delighted to earn some money from my stories and thank each and every reader who buys a copy, but I am also realistic. I write because I need and want to, and I don't expect to match my current salary with my earnings from it.
So, much as I would like to give it up, I’ll keep the day job – for now at least.
Of course, should Spielberg ever want to make a film of ‘In My Lady’s Chamber’, I could have a rethink…