Ten Years a Novelist!

Quote from my interview with Jean Lee in April 2020

It’s exactly 10 years ago today that I took the plunge and published my first novel. April 1st 2012 saw me press that big ‘submit’ button and launch The Silver Locket into the world. A momentous moment about which I basically told no-one. So lacking in confidence was I back then that I published it under a pen-name.

I’d started bits and pieces of the book during the mid-noughties, but I hadn’t come up with anything very substantial. Then in April 2010, the ash cloud from the eruption of EyjafjallajΓΆkull delayed my flight back to the UK from a holiday in South Africa and resulted in me being AWOL from my job for a week. Rules around unauthorised absence in the council where I worked dictated that I must make up the time, leaving me a chained to my desk for 2 hours every day after everyone else had gone home for (I can’t remember how many) weeks.

It was not even as if I had sufficient work to fill the time. My risk management role had been scaled down due to governmental policy changes, and the work that I took over from other members of my team hardly filled the the normal working day.

So what to do? Twiddle my thumbs? Bring in some knitting? Nobody much seemed to mind as long as I made up that oh-so-important missing time.

And so I began to work on the novel which I’d been composing in my head during my daily commute. Apart from the time I happily spent chatting to our cleaner, there was only one occasion that I remember being disturbed. One of the field staff phoned and I was so wrapped up in my writing – see that quote at the top of the page – that it took me a minute or two to come ‘back to earth’.

Six months later, we’d emigrated to South Africa. It took us a little while to settle in, but soon I was back to writing a couple of afternoons a week between the various voluntary activities I’d signed up for. Fast forward a further eighteen months and my finger was hovering over that submit button.

I sometimes wonder whether I would ever have got down to serious writing had it not been for that volcano, but now I’ve been well and truly bitten by the writing bug and I’ve never looked back.

Five novels, three published as audiobooks, and one tiny short story collection later, what’s next? Well, here’s the nearest I get to an outline for a new novel:

Revenge of the Rain Bull, third in my Weskus Series, is about to begin…

Image credit for the unpronounceable volcano: National Geographic

80 thoughts on “Ten Years a Novelist!

  1. A fantastic and rewarding journey Chris. I’m happy that I’ve read all your books and am in process of reading the latest one. Congratulations my dear friend

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Chris, congrats, I am about to head over to buy your second audio book now! I havent read the first one yet but its on my to be read list for this year! Cant wait to read it as your genre is not one I normally have read much of! It’ll be fun to expand and read a genre I’m not really familiar with!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so happy to hear this, Carol. I hope you enjoy listening to the books. Terry, the narrator has done such a good job. She interpreted the characters’ voice so well, with the minimum of guidance and added an additional dimension to the stories.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Following the Green Rabbit is a stand alone book. Historical fantasy fiction, set somewhere in Cheshire.
          Sea Goddess and Shell Man are quite different, since they’re set in contemporary South Africa. They are the first and second books set in the same fictional little town, and including most of the same characters. Better to read the Sea Goddess first of the two, but not essential.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. As far as I’m aware, it’s ‘yuckyuckyokel’; although that could be my interpretation of Gemevere’s interpretation of it… I need to blame someone!
    But what a push, Chris – a volcano! Fabulous! And happy anniversary, by the way.
    Your happy place quote is so true; it’s so easy to get lost in that world… and it’s remarkably fantastic too!
    Good luck with your new book, although I know that you don’t need it! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, yes, the inspiration of the daily commute – I remember it well. And, of course, that bizarre concept of ‘making up time’ (is that a purely English concept, I wonder?). My job was a bit different, but I do remember once being told that we had to have three ‘meetings’ a week to fill contractual obligations. I’m a bit more ‘stay at work until you’ve done what needs to be done…then go!’.
      Anyway, all that is to say congratulations and doesn’t the time fly. I’m hoping to get started on reading YNWA soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow Chris! I love it! What an amazing series of events that led you to your writing career. Still, I think that even without the volcano, you would eventually have started writing since it’s your β€œlife’s calling”. Also the last photo of your bookshelf and idea board is great!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fates weave in mysterious ways, don’t they?
    Now, only a bona fide Proprietor would so modestly tell a story of an erupting volcano, fighting the monster of empty overtime hours, relocating to another continent(!), starting a writer’s saga….
    Heartfelt congratulations are in order!
    And , you are right to follow the advice of celebrating milestones as you prepare for the way ahead.
    And, dangers/obstacles she writes…bring them on!
    And, the private stock of the SSC&B is out of the crypt; cheers!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Unusual for this Proprietor to come out with something factional, but yes, fate does move in a mysterious way. Now to make sense of the strange outpourings onto that whiteboard.
      Popping in for a wee dram later…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Standing ovation from me, Chris–I’m beyond happy for you…and, I still have The Silver Locket on my list. I’ve not forgotten you, nor the book…life just gets in the way of “reading for pleasure time”.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Chris, congratulations on 10 years as a published author. My first Sir Choc book was published in August 2016 so I’m 5.5 years in. I have been drawn to writing for children again lately, and I’m also writing a lot of poetry. My adult novels are languishing until I feel stronger.

    Liked by 1 person

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