Thursday, 7 May 2015

"My name is Amanda and I'm a writer"

There was a time when I wouldn’t tell people that I was a writer.  When being introduced at parties or social gatherings, I’d keep it quiet.  What right did I have to give myself that title?  Maybe if I’d been traditionally published I wouldn’t have been quite so reticent but, as an Indie, a little voice in my head would always whisper ‘Don’t tell them.  You can imagine what questions will spring up.’

But things are different now.  I’m an Indie and am proud of what I’ve achieved.  I’m living the dream and my writing journey has allowed my husband to abandon his job search so that we can work together as a team - earning enough to pay the mortgage, the bills, feed and clothe ourselves and generally live.  OK, there are no round-the-world cruises on the horizon but if you’d told me four years ago that my writing would support us, I wouldn’t have believed you.  That cruise can’t be too far away!

These days I’m prepared for the questions that come after,‘What do you do, Amanda?’ and I reply, head held high, ‘I’m a writer.’

I should be prepared, I’ve heard them so many times!

‘Who are you published by?’

‘So you couldn’t get a publisher then?’
‘Actually, after being let down at the final hurdle with my first novel, I lost faith and decided to stop approaching both agents and publishers.  The Indie route suits me just fine.’

‘But I bet if a publisher offered you a massive deal, you’d take it?’
‘If someone offered you a fortune to do what you love, I guess you would too!’

‘Does it pay then?’
‘If it didn’t I wouldn’t be working 5 (sometimes 7) days a week or chaining my husband to the desk to edit, format and promote my books.  I don’t dabble - it’s my job and both my husband and I get paid a wage.’

‘Where do you get your ideas from?’
‘Honestly, I can’t put it down to one thing.  A seed can be planted while I’m sleeping or from an overheard snippet of conversation, an advert or (in one case) a parked car that I used to see every day - from that car came a whole plot.’

‘I’ve got an idea for a book!  Do you want to write it for me?’
‘No thank you.’

‘Do you get writer’s block?’
‘I’ve learned to deal with it.  I walk away, make a coffee, talk to the cats, load the washing machine.  If a block hits really badly around the 30K word count mark and there’s nothing I can do to shift it, I accept that I’m writing the wrong book and shelve it.  If my books don’t write themselves, I turn my back on them - I don’t have time for lack of cooperation!

‘Why don’t you write a Harry Potter type book or erotica?  That’s where the money is, isn’t it?’
Would you ask a gynaecologist why he’s not a dentist?  We specialise in our choices for a reason.  And there’s actually pretty good money in chicklit too!’

And finally, my favourite question from a dear friend who asks me every time I see him:

‘When are you going to write about a suave accountant with a huge willy?  I can give you lots of background information.’

Who knows, but I’ll pass on checking out his credentials!

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