At the moment I am currently reading Terry Pratchett's non-fiction collection 'A Slip of the Keyboard'. It is one of those books that is fascinating reading. A lot of it are collections of his thoughts on various topics, all revolving around writing. Others are reproductinos of his speeches that he gave over the years. Such as the one he gave at a convention in the 2002 stating that he was no longer going to be working on two books at the same time.
Two books at a time? That is mind blowingly impressive no matter how you cut it.
In fact he said that he actually had a month a year when he was working on three books at the same time. One had been shipped off to his editor, one he had just finished and was waiting to send off to the editor and the third was a new book to work on.
I just can't figure out where he found the time to do all this writing while also holding down the job that helped pay the bills and dealing with everything else that life threw his way. I mean I found it hard enough to get time to work on the second Filthy Henry novel. It took me til today to get draft three finished. Something that I probably should have finished a long time before now, but I seem to let things get in the way a little
By no means as impressive as what Sir Terry can do, but something that I figured I would mention in passing on the Interwebs as a little milestone. The plan now is, while I have some steam in the writing engine, to continue with the good work and just take tonight off from re-writes. Draft four starts tomorrow on the bus into work.
I had said to a few people, stupdily, that I was aiming to have the second novel out and ready for sale by Spring. Now I did play fast and loose with the confirmation of which end of Spring I was talking about. Some assumed the start, others got told it would be the end of. This may be a little tricky to stick to, as once I am happy with it I still need to send the thing off to my editor to get them to have a look at it. Allowing the number of weeks for that work to be done it could well be summer time before the book is properly ready for people to get. So now the new plan is to get it finished and ready for August.
Why August? Well because I decided to be a nut job and signed up for a vendor stall at Dublin Comic Con, which takes place on the 8th and 9th of August. What better way to get motivated than to have a hard and fast date which will involve a bunch of random people walking past and judging my work?
Man alive it is worse I am getting at keeping content on this not better, but sure such is life. Many of the times that I have commented on the lack of entries I am going through a really busy period. Then when I get a bit of time I forget all the bits and bobs that I wanted to rant about in the first place. What also seems to be happening is that when I am in the middle of doing some re-writes of my book I drop off from the Internet in general. Probably has some sort of crazy connection with wanting to focus on only one writing task at a time.
But today I had to break the badly formed habit and post this entry for one simple reason: it is a note to my sixteen year old self.
When I was in transition year of secondary school (which basically means being fifteen or sixteen to any non-Irish visitors) I started writing as a hobby. Not because I was filled with teenage angst, not because I had something super important to say that would change the thinking of everyone who read my words. Not even because I was particularly good at it. No I started writing because I had read so much at that stage that I figured this was the way I wanted to earn my living.
Oh foolish me.
What I did was write down the general idea of two novels and started working on both, but never ever finished either of them fully. One came really close, the other just got lost in the mess of my mind. Neither of them was actually worked on properly. I plotted out nothing, wrote dreadfully and probably copied half a dozen ideas from books I had read in the past.
In summary they were both disasters.
But I never stopped wanting to be a writer, to have a book on the shelf that other people could read and talk about whether they liked it or not. As I went through school I kept the writing up as a hobby, while computers became the path I would go down with regards a job. During my years in college I wrote a few short stories that people seemed to enjoy and even won a competition with my writing. Yet it was always just a hobby and me being me I never had any real faith in what I wrote ever going anywhere.
Fast forward eight years and I once again got the idea into my head to write a novel, but this time properly. I had gone off and done a course on creative writing, read some books on the best way to start your novel. I plotted everything out, spent days getting into the writing habit. Hired an editor after I was done. It was a labour of love.
Alas after sending it around to agents and publishers nobody took it up, but I have talked about this before.
So having gone down the self-publishing route I resigned myself to never seeing my book on a shelf in a shop somewhere.
Turns out The Gods had different ideas.
After a project manager in work read my book she happened to mention it to a friend of her's. He borrow the book, read half of it, then told her I was to get into contact with her. Not because I was in some sort of plagiarism trouble but because he just happened to own a bookshop and was going to stock some copies of my book.
I kid you not, somebody I had no connection to went off and bought copies of my book to sell in his store.
Resulting in this little bit of awesomeness.
Right beside one of my idols.
Myself and the ladyfriend went out today to visit Alan Hanna's Bookshop to see my book on a shelf. To say we were both excited would be a little bit of an understatement.
The book shop itself is amazing. One of those little ones that is packed with books and staff that just run around all day trying to help customers. Both of us love little stores like this and if you are ever in Rathmines then visiting this place would not be the worst thing you ever did in your life.
As we entered we figured there would be a copy or two down in the fiction section, but could find nothing. So we went in search of the fantasy section and purely by accident stumbled across my book, or a stack of them, sitting right beside the work of Mr. Tolkien himself.
I mean talk about a nerdgasm happening on the spot. Something I had written was sharing shelf space with the guy who basically defined epic fantasy.
All there is to say about this crazy day is a message to my sixteen year old self: keep at it buddy, we get there one day.
When I wrote 'Filthy Henry: The Fairy Detective' I never figured one day I would be getting interviewed about it.
Last weekend I went to Dublin Comic Con (keep meaning to put up an entry about that) and went to a panel on self publishing and indie authors. It was ran by four guys that each have books out in the big bad world and all went about it themselves. Telling the publishing world that they wanted nothing to do with them.
It was a really interesting panel it has to be said. Each of the lads gave an account of their own journey, from scribbles on the napkin in a coffee shop to actually holding a copy of their finished novel in their hands. They had all tried getting agents, shopping to publishers direct. Each had hit the same pitfalls I had myself. The agents wanted the full thing then never got back to them. Agents wanted things changed, when the changes were made nothing more was heard. Publishers looking for money from the author instead of giving them money. It was oddly encouraging to hear, even though it was sucky stuff that happened to them. It made me feel like I wasn't alone in the waters of writing.
But, after the talk, one of the lads, a guy by the name of Owen Quinn, asked to have a quick word with me.
Owen writes a series of books, that can be found at his site The Time Warriors, and goes around to cons to get more and more indie writers into his network. He interviews them and publishes the interviews on his site.
We exchanged some details and tonight I finished my interview. I have no idea when it will appear on his site, but I will let people know when I do myself. In the meantime why not pop on over to it and check out some of his work.