The accidental novelist

Welcome one and all! I’m very happy you visited my new site, created to document my novel-in-progress and to offer would-be agents and publishers an insight into my work and processes.

After many years in the media industries, in Canada and the UK, as a writer, editor and erstwhile broadcaster, I decided to turn my hand to writing a novel. Unlike many new novelists, it was not a career path I had ever been particularly interested in pursuing. After all, I have a full-time career that I love, a radio show on the side, and plenty of published works under my belt (albeit articles and editorials rather than novels).

No, becoming a part-time novel writer has been something of an accident. It came upon me for two reasons, both unexpected.

First – having written only simple online news stories in the past, and mostly just editing other people’s work – I suddenly found my “voice” when I was promoted and started writing regular op-eds. At the same time, I was given my own weekend radio show. Suddenly, it seemed, people wanted to hear and read what I had to say. I became seen as an expert in my field, and my opinion was publicly valued (mostly – as well as being occasionally slammed by social media trolls). But once I started writing those editorials and radio rants, the words just started flowing.

Second, an idea for a novel came suddenly upon me in a half-waking dream. I had imagined a certain romantic hero for many years, based very loosely on a man I met on a journey to Seattle as a 19-year-old, and for years I would often dream – or daydream – about this seemingly perfect guy. One weekend morning, I woke up feeling strongly like someone was physically lying beside me. With nothing better to do, I just went with it, frivolously imagining what it would be like to wake and find you have a husband that you don’t remember. Lying in bed that morning, drifting in and out of sleep, I allowed my imagination to construct a fantastical story based on this premise. Over those few hours, I outlined in my head the entire plot of the novel that is now taking shape as The Other Me (very much a working title).

After that, and with my new-found confidence in writing, I simply had to get the story out of my head and into my laptop. Having written down the plot point by point, and spent some time thinking about the characters, I just started writing. And the words just keep coming. I have had not one moment of writer’s block and I’ve been typing as fast as I can just to get the story out.

So far, I absolutely love this story. I feel like I’m writing the perfect novel for someone like me to read. I mean, I guess I would feel that way – it’s my story.

Who knows whether anyone else will want to read it? I’m lucky that I’m not relying on the success of this novel to be able to pay my mortgage, and that I love writing this book in my spare time.

But this experience has also made me think that being a full-time author might be a really fun new career, after all…

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