The Witching Path, my first published book, was launched in 2007 with as much fanfare and publicity as a glass of flat lemonade at your grandmother’s 85th birthday party. The book sold fairly well for a debut from an unknown author and I had a run of feature articles in prestigious, glossy new age magazines following that over the next few years and then… nothing. My circumstances changed dramatically and neither time nor situation allowed me to do much in the way of writing for some time.
Now I have had two new books released in the space of five weeks and I’ve won the Pagan Events UK Author of the Year Award 2017. I’m swamped with congratulations – and with people telling me how ‘lucky’ I am.
Lucky? I wish it had been that easy! But luck had nothing at all to do with it. I worked hard for every single word on those beautifully printed pages. Hard work, disappointment, hundreds of rejections, editing, re-writing, more hard work and a lot of late nights, missed social events and yet more hard work while holding down a full time job and being a mum with other interests.
A spark of inspiration led to me persuading the Children of Artemis to start publishing books – my book. Specifically, my debut novel, Wild Women. After reading a lot of paranormal romance and urban fantasy, I wanted a novel about characters who practiced real magic, people I could relate to. There are very few authors writing this kind of novel or publishers willing to take it on. It was exciting to collaborate with Children of Artemis on making witchcraft fiction a reality. I’m definitely going to be doing further novels in this genre alongside my other fiction, like Half Past Nine. The Witch’s Journey and forthcoming Living Witchcraft were contracted three years ago with Thoth publishing and I’m working on a book on the folklore and magic of dolls for another publishing house, Wolfenhowle Press, as well as writing frantically for the second novel in the Wild Women series, Midnight Magic for the CoA.
The launch of a new non-fiction book is more like swallowing dry aspirin than sparkling champagne but the launch of Wild Women couldn’t have been more amazing. With dozens of massive posters and a gigantic stage for me to stand on, the novel was launched at Witchfest International 2017 – the UK’s largest witchcraft event of the year.
How did this come about? Apart from the aforementioned hard work, I have spent decades submitting articles and stories that were rejected and never saw the light of day. Rejections lead to re-writes and from there I started getting pieces into non-paying magazines and then, at last, The Witching Path was accepted by Capall Bann. I did have a run of writing for magazines like Kindred Spirit, Soul and Spirit and Prediction among others, which earned me more than the royalties but for the most part, I still write for free though, as most of the pagan magazines, including some of the well-known ones, do not pay their authors and even complimentary copies of the magazine are a rarity. Working in the pagan community running workshops and open rituals and writing for free in pagan magazines for the last fifteen years has meant I’ve been able get my name know and more importantly, it’s been a way of assessing my writing, shaping and refining every word. And yes, I’m still writing for pagan magazines for free, most of the workshops and talks I do are entirely unpaid and without expenses. And I still don’t have an agent, I still get rejections despite having three books to my name and contracts for another three… it hasn’t helped me snare an agent one little bit (if you are literary agent, I would love to hear from you). Advances (what’s one of those?) and royalties, for the most part, are barely worth the effort of writing an entire book but I carry on regardless because I love writing.
I’ve been in love with writing, the creative process of making stories come alive, since I was tiny and I still love it now. I will carry on with my witchy non-fiction but my main focus now will be my fiction, the stories and characters and worlds that live inside my head. Being a writer totally rocks – but it’s a hard slog too. And as for luck – well, luck has nothing to do with it!
What makes an author happy? Good reviews – thank you so much to anyone who has ever taken the time to say you enjoyed reading my books, articles and stories. It’s like getting a pat on the head by your favourite Auntie. What makes an author really happy? Wine, good coffee, chocolate, royalties and brilliant reviews.
Thank you for reading my words x
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