I always knew I had more than one book in me. Even in those very early days, when I had no real plan in my mind, nothing to direct me towards submitting, all I did was write. Every spare moment I had.
In the early Seventies, I left school with hardly any qualifications to speak of. English, because I was good with words, but I hated school and hadn’t done well. I wanted it all to become nothing more than a very distant memory.
My first job proved to be almost as dreadful as school. The one difference being that at least in school I had weekends off. Well, not anymore. I worked Saturdays, which I loathed. When it finally became too much, and my health began to suffer, I left and tried to rethink my goals. Naturally, I wrote. I developed a story, a science fantasy. When I managed to find another job, with Wirral Borough Council, a good friend of mine helped me by reading my work. This was really the first time anyone had taken any notice, and their encouragement was such a boost for me.
Needless to say, after around 60,000 words, I put it away and forgot all about it. By now I was in that wonderful place where most us go to, a life full of optimism, listening to Leonard Cohen, seeing wonder in everything, and travelling around Europe and the Middle East.
My experiences in Israel led me to writing my first submitted book. I slaved over it, night and day, trying my level best to create something which people might actually want to read. Entitled, ‘So Where’s the Milk and Honey?’ I posted it off to Jonathan Cape (you did that sort of thing in those days) and waited, and waited, and waited.
Inevitably, the rejection slip arrived, but one of the most considerate and inspiring rejections I’ve received. Yes, that’s right – inspiring. I still have it somewhere, telling me not to give up, to continue to write, to submit again.
Of course, the problem was, what to write next?
We all have influences, writers we admire, attempt to emulate. I had a whole range of such authors, ranging from Ian Fleming through to Thomas Hardy. As many different styles as you could imagine. Nevertheless, my own style was emerging. I knew what I could write well about, and also what I couldn’t. The greatest lessons I learned were the pacing of stories, and the building up of tension. I achieved this by observing, listening to people’s conversations, watching how people reacted to situations and, perhaps most importantly, living a life. I don’t see how you can write about things if you haven’t experienced them. In Israel I’d witnessed a few things that made my toes curl, met some seriously scary people. Fortunately, I became friendly with them, and I learned a lot about myself back then. Returning to Merseyside, experiences continued. When you’re facing a six foot six karate expert telling you he is going to ‘fold you up like a piece of paper’ it does things to you. I studied karate, met some very interesting characters. They tend to appear in my books nowadays, perhaps more than once!
I was still bashing away with my Olivetti. Copious carbon copies, constant rewrites. The ‘Writers and Artists Yearbook’ now became my bible, and I read voraciously. Soon I was scribbling down scenes on any piece of paper I found lying around. But I was still unpublished, and the learning curve continued to be a sharp one.
It was around 1980 when, out of work again, I decided to bite the bullet and get one of my books seriously ready for submission. That meant writing and re-writing, studying every sentence, and then, with all those crossings out and scribbled notes in the margin, I employed a professional typist to prepare the manuscript.
And the outcome…well…let’s wait and see!
You can find out more about me, and my published work, by visiting my websites. Almost all of my books are available on Kindle now, and the prices are looking good.
For Young Adult paranormal mysteries, go to www.glennstuart.co.uk
And for more adult orientated work, please visit www.stuartgyates.com.
I hope you find something there to take your fancy.
Thanks for dropping by, and keep reading!