I Confess…I Write My Books For Me

I think it’s time to admit the truth. Who am I aiming to please when I write and publish a book? Well, mostly it’s me. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. 2018 was an endless round of editing and revising for me, as I prepared Elliot Pie’s Guide To Human Nature for release in October, and revamped and released The Boy With The Thorn In His Side Parts One and Two, and edited Parts Three and Four. Because of this amount of editing, and the fact I was taking part in a reading challenge, I didn’t get a hell of a lot of reading for pleasure done last year.

Which made me think about a few things. One, I really, really enjoy reading my own books, no matter how many times I’ve edited or read through them… Eek, I know, sounds big-headed, doesn’t it? But it’s true. I love my characters and my storylines have me hooked so much they keep me awake at night. Every single book I’ve ever published has a sequel bubbling away inside my head. I just can’t fully let any of them go. I’d miss them too much.

So, when I edit, revise, read through, proofread again and again and again, I enjoy it. I genuinely do. I become immersed in these characters lives. I enjoy the drama and the twists and the turns, even though I know how it ends! Weird, right?

Well, maybe not. After all, why do writers start writing in the first place? I’ve been thinking about this. Now, I’m sure for some it’s the dream of money and fame, of making it ‘big’, becoming an international, award-winning bestseller, who has all their books made into films. JK Rowling or Stephen King, in other words. I mean, it sounds amazing, so who wouldn’t want that?

And I’m sure for some, it’s the urge to entertain, to spin tales, to amuse, to awaken, to entice, to deliver a message.

But for others, I think it’s something different, something they’re not entirely in control of. And I think reading sparks it off. Reading a good book at a young age, then reading more. Becoming utterly drawn into a made-up world that holds your attention, keeps you amused, enthralled, or terrified. The kind of book you don’t want to end. The kind you want everyone else to read just so you can talk about it with them. The kind where you want the characters to be real, and almost believe that they are.

And then, because this is just so exciting, you start to wonder. I could do this myself. I could entertain myself. Then I’d be in control, and it need never end! I can create worlds and lives and people just how I want them, and I can make it funnier, or scarier, or sadder, whenever I want to. Forever!

'If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, you must be the one to write it.'-Toni Morrison.jpg

And thus, a writer is born. A writer who originally set out to please only themselves.

That’s definitely how it was for me. Throughout my childhood and my teenage years, I was totally addicted to writing. I wrote early versions of some of the books I have since published or are working on. I wrote short stories, poems and endless, endless diaries and outpourings of words, thoughts, feelings, and dreams. My writing kept me sane, and it kept me entertained. I was never lonely or bored. I absolutely adored this game of make-believe, and I still do.

I write what I want to read, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. Maybe this is true of a lot of writers, I don’t know. It’s no coincidence that the kind of books I write are the kind of books I am always searching to read. I long to read books with amazing, complex characters, the type you never forget, the type you love and loathe in equal measures, the type you can empathise with and root for. I love realistic dialogue and prefer that to too much exposition. I like to read about characters I can relate to, which is difficult as so many books contain middle-class characters. I like to read gritty, hard-hitting storylines. I like realism.

So, there you have it. When I write a book I am mostly writing for myself. I want to write something for me to read. That’s not to say I don’t then spend years trimming it, honing it, revising it, proofreading and editing it until it becomes something I am proud to put out into the world. That goes without saying. I do want people to read my books. Desperately. I do want those reviews and those messages. Without a doubt, I would like better sales! And of course, my ultimate dream is to have all my books made into films or TV series! You got to have your dreams, right?

But in the beginning, it’s me I’m trying to please.

And I think that’s okay. At the very least, it means I will never stop writing!

 

 

New Feature; Indie Book of The Month!

Welcome to a new monthly feature for my blog. I read A LOT, and I read a good mix of indie and traditionally published books as well as a real mix of genres. I’m always looking for ways to repay the indie community who are so supportive of me, so I thought why not post a book of the month feature?

At the end of each month, I will post a blog promoting the best indie book I read that month. I will also be contacting the author for a follow-up interview. After highlighting the book of the month, I will also link to any other indie books that caught my eye, as well as the best traditionally published book I read this month and the best new author I discovered this month. But the main feature is the indie book!

So, please allow me to introduce you to the very best indie book I read in January 2018. The Minotaur Hunt by Miriam Hastings

This fantastic book about life inside a mental institution won the MIND book of the year award and was previously published by Harvester Press. Here is the blurb;

A winner of the MIND Book of the Year Award, this is a present-day story with a legendary model. To the people of Crete, the Minotaur was a creature of darkness and horror. Locked in a labyrinth where no-one could see him, he became the scapegoat for everyone’s worst imaginable nightmares and terrors.

Chrissie and Rachel are Minotaurs. They meet in Bradley, a rambling Victorian institution for the mentally ill. As the novel unfolds and their respective stories are gradually revealed, their growing relationship becomes a rich source of shared experience and a focus for their deepening knowledge of themselves.

The Minotaur Hunt is an arresting story of modern society which draws on some of the most evocative qualities of myth-making. In its fearless exploration into some of the darkest areas of human experience, it strikingly portrays the complexities and difficulties of human communication in a powerful and moving narrative which is both disturbing and honest, captivating and profound.

This is a revised edition of the novel with a new Afterword by the author.

And here is my Amazon/Goodreads review;

I was drawn into this book from the very first page. Rachel is a 16-year-old girl who has a habit of escaping from everyday life whenever she feels like it. She simply curls up on her bed and waits for the boat to come and take her to the world she has created in her mind. It’s a beautiful world, inhabited by elegant and sexless creatures who would like her to live with them permanently. Rachel cannot do this while she is still anchored to the real world, and her desire to do so results in her parents committing her to an institution for the mentally ill. At such a young age, Rachel is terrified and confused, but she gradually discovers true friendship among the other inmates, Chrissie, Rosie, Daniel and David. Rachel and Chrissie become particularly close, eventually realising that they have experienced similar trauma. This book is set in the 1980’s, a time when the mentally ill were still treated quite badly in such places. The relationship they all had with the ward doctor made for some interesting reading. I could never quite decide if he was on their side or not, or simply manipulating them. This is a beautifully written book which gave me characters I could truly care about and I thank the author for that. I felt like they were all real and I was part of their journey for the time I was immersed in their lives. There is a tragic ending for a few of the characters and hope and recovery for some of the others. I was desperate for things to turn out well for all of them! There are some fantastic characters in this book and some really thought-provoking issues dealt with. It really made me think all the way through. I also enjoyed the mythical element to it which at times provided a slight relief from the starkness of life inside the institution. A brave and wonderful book. I would love to read more from this author.

I highly recommend this book if you are looking for something to really get involved with. Not only does this book totally pull you into these characters lives and minds, this novel really invites you to think about mental health. Not a light read and contains some upsetting scenes, but in my view, an extremely important book by a fantastic indie writer, who I really hope has more books out soon!

The Minotaur Hunt by [Hastings, Miriam]

Other Indies I Enjoyed This Month;

Ghosts of London(book 3 in Mark Gillespie’sFuture of London Series)

The Oscillator by JK Neve

Best Traditionally Published Book of the Month;

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

Best Author I’ve Discovered This Month;

Matt De La Pena