A different approach, this time. I invited Lorraine to say what she wanted, in her own way. I think this makes a refreshing change.
I’ve always loved creative writing. Even as a child I can recall the joy of dreaming up new places and characters. Imagination is a real gift. Some people are logical, some people are practical and then there’s me. I don’t think I have any other talents that make me stand out, but I don’t mind. As long as I have books to read and a way to write, be it pencil and paper or PC, I’m happy.
I can never simply sit and unwind, there always has to be something occupying my mind, or I get terribly bored. On leaving university, I ended up working in a shop for a while, I was so desperate to write (anything) that I got over a hundred pen-pals from all around the world – it’s actually how I met my husband.
When I was on maternity leave with my daughter in 2003, I found just sitting around waiting for her to arrive, and then when she had arrived, waiting for her to do something, it felt like my mind was addling. I needed output. That’s when I started dreaming up the characters for my very first novel. With no computer at the time, I wrote in journals, developing characters and building a complete fantasy world. That was the first time I realised I wanted to write seriously, my epiphany.
When we finally got a computer, I committed that novel to the screen. Three re-writes later, and I’m not ashamed to say that, that particular story will never be shown to another, but it will always have a special place in my heart.
It was in the wake of the Twilight craze, stumbling around for something to replace the hole left by the Cullen’s, that I discovered Christine Feehan’s Carpathian series. I’ve always loved vampires, if I ever went on Mastermind, vampire lore would be my specialist subject, but anyway, thanks to the Carpathians, I realised paranormal romance, both reading and writing, were what floated my literary boat.
It took me four months to complete the first draft of Soul Reunion. Knowing nothing about getting published, I went on line to research. That’s when I found Writers Beat; an on-line community for writers, where you can connect with other writers, get information, advice and best of all, critique on your work.
From there I got talking to people about shorts, flash fiction, etc. I’d used them as a way of alleviating writers block or as simple writing exercises. Mike Coombes, co-founder of GUD magazine, had an idea to pull together a small select group of shorts writers for an experiment, and to my everlasting joy, I was among them.
Hothouse was born on April 15th 2010. A sweatshop or short fiction factory, where we write, share, critique and edit before submitting to various markets, with a view to getting published. Having never shared my work before, it was a daunting experience and I often felt I was floundering as all my co-writers got acceptances and my mailbox remained painfully empty. I wrote (and write) everything from murder to spiritual stories, erotica to children’s fiction. At one point, being the only member without an acceptance, I got myself in a panic thinking, I’d be asked to leave.
Then, one day, all of a sudden, an acceptance! A flash piece, called ‘Mine’ was accepted by The New Flesh magazine. I was over the moon. Getting that first acceptance… there are no words, even for a writer, unless you’ve experienced it yourself. Euphoria is the best I can do.
After that I got more confident and within four months, I’d managed to achieve a fantastic eight acceptances. Markets included e-zines, anthologies and my greatest achievement to date, a publishing contract with Untreed Reads, for my short story, A Daughter’s Love.
A Daughter’s Love is only 1,300 words, no more than a coffee break read, but Untreed Reads saw it as being packed with emotion, and welcomed me into their family. The story is about a woman, living with her war vet father and the struggles they have to overcome. It was inspired by stories I heard about my own mother and her father when he returned from WWII. I feel it is a fitting tribute to two people I loved so much.
I’m so proud of this story, because it’s actively being sold by e-book retailers all round the world, and for a very low and tempting price. I don’t care about the money, I’m just awed people are willing to pay for something I’ve written.
But the real thrill for me is that Untreed Reads put this story on Amazon Kindle. As an avid reader, I’m always on Amazon buying books. And now, I can search and find myself among so many brilliant authors. It might sound silly, but it keeps me smiling.
It’s still very much my intention to get my novel, Soul Reunion, published and I’ve developed subsequent plots to turn it into a Soul Taker series. But writing is a discipline and focusing so much on shorts as I have been, I’m constantly learning about the craft of writing. So, I’ve realised there’s still a lot of editing needed before I try sending it out into the big wide world again. And while I do that, I’ll still be working on my shorts as well.
On average I write one short story every week, obviously, not all of them make the grade. It’s sometimes hard to find the time, so not without the sacrifice of some sleep, as I still have my family and job who need my attention too.
Red Lorry’s Journey is my blog where I record the ups and downs I experience as a writer, share my successes and discuss the books I’m reading, linking them to my reviews on Amazon. The blog is as much a diary for me, as it is a way to share my experiences with those who read it, and of course, it’s just one more way for me to get my written word out there.