I have always enjoyed writing, for me it has been a way to both express myself and also to relax. Admittedly it is a relaxation peppered with long bouts of self-doubt and frustration, but the joy of reading something that you have crafted yourself, something that has flow and meaning, is immense. Alas, apart from one poem in my high school years and a handful of articles for various magazines I never had the courage to submit anything to a publishing house before. I’m glad I finally did.
Over my working life I have been privileged to have travelled widely and lived and worked in Malaysia, America and England in addition to my home country, Australia. I would recommend to all aspiring writers that they get out and discover the world, nothing homes your ability to communicate better than the challenge of absorbing new cultures, people and environments. I lived in Philadelphia for five years and whilst there developed an interest in American politics, it is the current political climate in the USA that inspired me to write ‘The Wall That Wasn’t’.
Somehow I find humour easier to write than serious prose, it also allows me to be somewhat liberal with facts and reason, which is evident is this little tale about the things that can happen when we elect silly, power-hungry people who can’t spell to public office. And that is important to all aspiring writers, find what it is that you write best and pleases you most, because only then can the reader really hear your true voice. A romanticist can probably write a good adventure novel, but it is more likely that he or she could write a great romance story. Not that it always comes easy. There have been many times when I had no idea what should come next. I learned that the best thing for me was to simply walk away from the keyboard, what you need will come to you, it just might take a little time.
And don’t be frightened of rejection. I sent my manuscript to six publishers. Three of which didn’t bother responding, one showed mild interest and another said, basically, “thanks, but no thanks”. Olympia, on the other hand, offered me a contract that was clear and fair. For those of you too young to remember it is worth noting that Decca Records rejected the Beatles in 1962, silly them.
Finally some publisher, somewhere, will send you an email saying that they would be interested in publishing you work. After leaping in the air, pumping your fist and doing a little impromptu dance (although carefully glancing around to ensure that nobody is watching), you immediately send a reply asking for the likely release date. What I have learned is that it takes a lot longer that you at first imagine. Naturally, you assume that yours is the only book that this particular publisher has on their horizon. That would be wrong. Be patient, it takes time. But eventually, that little box of books will arrive on your doorstep. The physical proof that you can do what it is that you believe you can do.