And come November 1st, I set out to write my very first novel. I had the seeds of an idea, something along the lines of a disillusioned kid in a dreary autumn in England. What I ended up with was definitely that, but it was also so much more. What started off as just a very rough first draft, after several rounds of editing and almost 3 years later, my debut novel, I Have Lived Today, was published. And not only that, it has actually done quite well considering I’ve had zero money for marketing and I’ve moved on to writing my Kane action series.
But the point of the story is this (well, one of them) … when I turned up at that bar, appropriately called Travellers, to meet some friends after my late teaching shift had finished, if someone there that night would have told me that not only would I have met the love of my life and my future wife, but that she would then inspire me to become a novelist, editor and travel writer, and a photographer, and that we’d end up living in many more countries and even buy a house together in Mexico… well I’d have thought those green beers and Irish leprechauns had cast some crazy disillusioning spell over them.
But what do you know? Six and a half years later I am indeed married to Leslie (yes, she’s still the love of my life) I am a writer, and although it’s still early days in terms of calling it a career, my book sales, combined with my sideline of editing and proofreading work and occasional travel writing, I am scratching a living. We do own a house in Mexico, and at time of writing we’re living in Bali with plans to spend much of next year in Edinburgh. One thing’s for sure… life is never dull.
Back to that first book. It’s quite a dark story, a coming-of-age tale about a poor, long suffering kid in 1960’s England. The feedback I’ve received from readers… almost 200, 5* reviews on Amazon, was overwhelmingly positive, and although in my opinion the book has many flaws… it was a debut with no writing education, after all… it is a book I am still very, very proud of. And it all started because of NaNoWriMo. So if you’re reading this but have often wondered about writing a novel yourself, wonder no more. This November, take part in NaNoWriMo yourself. It’s free, there are zero obligations, and it is very inspiring when you meet your daily targets and that story starts to come together. Who cares if it’s crap? Who cares if it never sees the light of day? Who cares if you never write another word?
I don’t. And nor should you. It’s just a great feeling to accomplish something like that.
Good luck, and if you have any questions or need advice about getting started with NaNoWriMo, send me a message and I promise to respond.
If you’re interested in checking out that debut, I Have Lived Today, you can find it on all Amazon online stores in eBook and paperback. Here are a couple of links: