What a day it’s been. I’m writing this in bed, in the same room where I did most of my wrestling with THE BOOK. It’s been a good two and a half years since I began writing it in earnest, a year and a half since I finished, and a good six months since I began to send it out (as a shiny 4th draft) into what is often the indifferent world of agent subs piles. But really the journey has been a much longer one.
I’ve always loved fantasy. Especially since my early teens when I discovered the greats: the three Terrys (Brooks, Goodkind & Pratchett), David Eddings, Alan Garner, Patricia A McKillip, Robert Jordan, Robin Hobb and of course J R R Tolkien to mention but a few. And I’ve always been a bit of a loner. So when, at 14, I was set an assignment to write a short story, it naturally turned into a 126k word novel. Think epic fantasy Harry Potter with a healthy measure of elves, dwarves, wizards, demons and dark lords. Yep, it’s still here on my hard drive.
Not ground breaking stuff, but it did encourage me to listen when one of those bell-like moments of clarity chimed. I decided I didn’t want to be an actress or a dancer, which is what I’d been working towards at drama school. I wanted to be a writer. I wanted those long, lonely hours of seclusion in which to spin adventures out of air and light, and out of other people’s stories. I started writing a lot after that, mostly poetry, a few short stories that I managed to keep short. I visited other worlds, fell in love, wept real tears at the deaths of characters I couldn’t bear to lose even in fiction. I am thinking of you, Robin Jarvis and your Oaken Throne; and of you, Trudi Canavan and the end of your Black Magician trilogy.
I had the idea for what is now Starborn when I was 17, so its origins are at least a decade old. Chapter 1 hasn’t changed fundamentally in that time, but I simply couldn’t have written the rest of the book without the fostering environment, advice and encouragement of my creative writing degree courses at the University of London. I’ve learned a lot about writing from those masters above, but also from my classmates, several of whom are now well-known in the publishing world. I’ve still not learned nearly enough, but I figure that’s my own adventure.
I’ve been so lucky to find firstly a wonderful agent whose enthusiasm rescued Starborn from the slush pile, and secondly a lovely editor whose belief in the novel has made this long, often ethereal dream a reality. Before I get too maudlin with the late hour, here’s the press release for Starborn from Tor UK.
Conclusion: this is one hell of a day.