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I wrote my first sci-fi novel in 1971, which was rejected by Victor Gollancz. My second novel ended up with a published author, found its way to corgi books then they lost the manuscript. I know a bit of it got plagiarised. Then I kind of lost heart. By 1975 I had completed my third novel. I then went to university (Bristol) and did a BA (hons) Humanities, majoring in English (three-year degree) starting when I was 25. After that, I got a job in Johannesburg ,South Africa at Financial Mail, a weekly economics and politics rag. I have been a financial journalist for 30 years. I have done piles of freelance (financial, sad to say) and got a book published (printed) on the short term insurance industry (non-fiction). It wasn’t my passion, as would be fiction writing, but, hey, it paid the mortgage and I could feed and educate the kids.
Then recently (October 2009) I came across Smashwords and saw their brilliant proposition. Well, it was, 'love at first sight'. I had planned exactly this sort of solution, and my son in Tokyo was going to help create the web site, called MySoftBook.com. But Smashwords has done such a terrific job, ‘why re-invent the wheel’? Besides, from looking at their site, I think we would have bitten off more than we could chew if we had tried to work on our project.
But, getting back to writing, I think, as writers, we find (as with most things) that we have to deal with 'Gatekeepers'. These are the people who step in and prevent all kinds of wonderful creative things from happening. I have to admit that I am not good at marketing myself as a writer. Maybe one should take the view that you need 200 rejection slips minimum (like Stephen King) before you can call yourself a 'real' author. Maybe it’s my fault for not trying harder. Be that as it may, my three novels I created (gee, over 30 years ago!) have been gathering dust – cough, cough - at least until Smashwords came up with the answer. I wish I had discovered them sooner!
Since I have a fourth novel fulminating in my head, I need to pull myself together and get publishing! Indeed this latest project, working title ‘Code Name: OR’, would definitely make a good movie and lead to a TV series.
Back to the old scripts. They were typed on an Imperial Good Companion 6! – (ie 10 years before the first PC!). They were a bit faded, but I am able to publish my third novel first (basically, because it was the one that the kids had scanned in for me and I was able to tidy up and re-edit it pretty quickly).
I hope to add the next novel, working title ‘Code name: KS’ before Christmas 2009. It is also, about 72 500 words like Sterile Promontory. Then maybe by April 2010 I will have sorted out the first novel, which is around 120 000 words I think, working title ‘Code Name: G’.
PS, a bit of family info: I married Brenda in 1973 and divorced in 1986, and had two children, Paul, born in Bristol, and Sabia born in Johannesburg. I have now been married to a Dutch girl, Marian, for 20 years, and we have three children: Laura (17), Liam (16) and Olivia (14), all born in Johannesburg. The five of them get along very well, but do not see each other often - Paul living in Tokyo and Sabia in Sydney. Paul is a ‘software engineer’; Sabia works in financial services at the moment, but plans to move to events management being such a people person. Laura goes to university in 2010 and for some reason wants to be a forensic pathologist. I don’t know about Liam. He is a demon PC gamer and pretty good at chess but, by his own admission, is ‘lazy’. His only plan is to become a millionaire. Olivia is maybe going to be a vet; or something that expresses her deep felt need to help people.
But kids, they’re hard work!