I’d forgotten the drive of my childhood passion until I got my first fan mail, then a good review, and then a publishing contract. All those things helped me keep plugging away—because it is a slog, as any writer will tell you.
The greatest encouragement I ever received, however, was a few years ago when my parents were moving house. They’d lived in the one place for over forty years. I helped them move and in one of the old shoe boxes way back in a wardrobe was my Crayola book.
Mum had kept it.
It was one of those rare moments in life when I could trace a fundamental part of me right back to its origin. Reading and writing had always given me pleasure.
When I was five years old I wrote a book. Six pages in all with a few crayon pictures. I wrote it for my mother as she was always reading. She made a big fuss, and I felt very clever and announced that night at dinner that I was going to be an author when I grew up. Nobody was overly impressed. The night before, I’d wanted to be a nun.
But I didn’t become a writer, or even a nun. At least, not right away.
When I grew up, I did a variety of things. I was a lab technician. An art historian. An IT contractor, and eventually an author simply because I was bored living in hotel rooms reading fanfic. I wanted to write my own stories again. I wanted to play in the Xenaverse.
I managed to own a home in a place I loved and I planned to retire to at some point. But in this frozen moment, with those flimsy pieces of folded paper in my hands, I realised nothing would ever change, because in a way, I’d been stalling since after I’d first made my announcement at dinner; and I was still stalling.
I was not doing the things I loved or living the way I wanted to. Instead, I was waiting for the perfect moment to allow it all to happen, never realising that the perfect moment is always around us, we just need to grasp it.
I’d been writing books for years, but I still felt that I hadn’t quite reached my goal. If writing books wasn’t enough—or wasn’t everything—then what was? I soon realized there was another part of the business I hadn’t ventured into. I’d been working in publishing for years, even landing myself a top stop at a few different houses, but at the end of the day there was always someone I was reporting to, someone else who was calling the shots, and that meant I wasn’t quite living the dream I’d started around the family dinner table to the fullest.
Today, I live in my little house in my pretty Greek village, with my silly wee dog and three orphaned kittens that think they’re the Royal family. Maybe being out here has opened my mind more to the old stories. It wasn’t long after I realized I wanted more that the Fates spun me up in a web of connections, contacts, and like-minded people who all seemed to want the same thing I did, and the best part was they all offered something different and something valuable. Now, I live in my own Xenaverse. I do everything I want, sometimes a little too much, but my co-founders at DRB are always there to ground me. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll get them out here to play on my dirt road with me. After all, it is such a pretty one.