After watching the BRILLIANT 50th Anniversary Dr Who, I am reminded of the tremendous debt I owe this iconic show.
I was six years old and the weather outside was bleak. In our living room, the black and white television flickered away in the corner, Grandstand having finished, and ‘Tomahawk’ gracing the screen with yet another great episode. When it ended, I got up to get ready for my tea and a strange, unworldly sound invaded my senses. The TV screen blurred and changed, mystical white shapes ebbing to and fro as music the like of which I had never heard before drew me in. The opening credits of the very first Dr Who. From that moment I was gripped.
Some years later, with everyone at school still buzzing with the wonder of the time-traveller’s adventures, a competition was launched to write a storyline for the Doctor. At the core of this tale was to be a new monster, to test our hero to the upmost.
Well, I wrote a story and from that point, with my imagination soaring, I became a writer.
I was eight.
I can’t remember what happened, or even where the story is now. I think I have some drawings I made of the monster, in the bottom of a box somewhere, but I can’t be sure.
For me, writing enables me, like the Doctor, to travel to new worlds, to populate stories with characters and events that did not exist before I put down the words. Creating, utilising my imagination, this is what gives me purpose and direction. I’m bombarded as I look through all the various social network sites about how to do this, how to achieve that; advice, seminars, books all about ‘how to’ write, ‘how to’ achieve success. The keys to marketing, the secrets of becoming a best-selling author. I used to read some of these. Not any more. Now, I scan over them all, not taking a blind bit of notice. Why is that?
I don’t know.
I’m not convinced by all the hype. Never will be. The screams of the self-published, that traditional publishing is dead, that paperbacks are a thing of the past…Well, I don’t believe it. None of it. Sorry, maybe I too am a dinosaur. E-books are great fun, and it is so easy to browse through the pages of Amazon picking out something new. To then download it (often free!) and have it sitting there, ready to read in a matter of minutes. So convenient and, in many ways, exciting. The anticipation…something akin to wandering inside a sweetshop and choosing the most delicious confectionary to devour with glee.
I buy books, Of course I do. However, almost 90 percent of them are paperbacks, especially non-fiction which I buy regularly to aid in my research.
I do use social networks, I do TRY to promote, because to have strangers – even one – reading my books, the feelings generated by that knowledge is beyond words. I am honoured people enjoy my work and say such lovely things about my stories. It humbles me. But I’m not seduced; I do not make many sales and am nowhere near to becoming ‘known’ and won’t be until I manage to break through into the world of traditional publishing. Because it is only there that success (awful word) will be achieved. That’s my opinion, and I’ll stick with it.
E-books? Yes, they are wonderful, and they do wonders for the environment…I think. Most of my books are e-books, as well as being in paperback. Varangian is receiving good reviews, as indeed are my others.
The problem is, unlike sweets, most of those ‘books’ we download stay in the e-reader unread. How many of us have dozens, perhaps hundreds of free books simply lying there unlooked at? I myself have a number, but I’ve stopped now. What is the point? I’d rather have a book I know I will read. I also like books on shelves. I have all of George Martin’s in paperback, and I wouldn’t swap them for anything. I think, in all honesty, once all the hullabaloo has settled, we will do what we have always done. We will buys books, and read them. Both as e-books and paperbacks. We are not about to witness the demise of traditional books. No way. What will happen is we will be presented with choice. And that has to be a good thing.
But writing itself, the constant striving to succeed? Well, I write because I love it, not to make millions. I won’t be a best-seller, I won’t ever walk into Waterstones and see my books gracing the shelves. There are millions of authors out there, hawking their wares. I am lost in the digital universe. Depressing? Perhaps. But the joy of creating keeps me going and every time I finish a book (and I have written well over thirty) my mind conjures up a new adventure. Because that is what it is – an adventure. My adventure. And, thanks to Dr Who, the journey has been one full of wonder.
Thanks for dropping by, and please go over to my website to check out some news, and read a few sample chapters of Varangian.