I never imagined (ha!) that I could be a fiction writer. With a background in journalism, and a dozen or so (I keep losing count) non-fiction books under my publishing belt, I was clear that, as a writer, my work was always going to stay that way.
And then I wrote my first novel, Mosaic. It was an amazing experience for me to create worlds where previously unknown characters came to life and had stories to tell. After I wrote it, I was sure: there were no more fiction books inside me. Back to my non-fiction world I went.
One evening as I was cooking dinner, the entirety of my second novel, Bluey’s Café, came to me in the space of half an hour. It was like the Universe downloaded it into my brain while I was cooking. I spent the next five days typing it up like a crazy woman. A woman who neglected her family, her home, and every other aspect of her life. And even after that book, I was clear: no more fiction books inside me.
A couple of summers ago, I wrote five romance novels in the space of that one season. I don’t know if they’ll ever see the light of day but what they did do was show me how much I loved the realm of the imagination. From that Summer with ridiculously early morning writing stints, came the growing realisation that I wanted—needed, in fact—to be a fiction writer. Crap! What would this mean? I had spent the best part of twelve years working as a magazine editor, and writing non-fiction parenting and holistic living books alongside that job as well as a being a mother to two home-educated daughters. And now all I wanted to do was write fiction?
I turned life as I knew it upside down to make this dream come true. Unlike non-fiction, I require a completely different writing space and working environment for writing novels. My main requirement is perfect quiet. No husband chatting about sport. No children asking ‘what’s for dinner?’ a few minutes after we’ve had breakfast. And no cat. Although I’m a cat person, I can’t bear the cat being in the room when I write. All that snoring and dreaming of mice just unsettles me.
So, now I’ve created a life where I can write fiction to my heart’s content, and lo and bloody behold, there are non-fiction books screaming to come out. What’s my lesson? I’m a writer, and it is best not to categorise myself too rigidly. Of course, it’s a pain in the butt when it comes to marketing one’s self. Am I novelist? Er, yes. Am I a recipe-book writer? Yes. Do I write books for holistic parents? Yes. Do I write astrology articles? Yes.
I’m a straddler!
As I straddle the worlds of information and pleasure, I trust that the loyal readership I built up through years of my non-fiction work will be just as happy to straddle over to my fiction books and enjoy what I have to offer. And likewise, those readers who have discovered me through my novels, I trust will take a peek at my non-fiction world and try my other books out.
It is my nature to communicate and impart information. As long as non-fiction books ‘ask’ to come out of me, I shall write them. I have, however, found my spiritual home writing novels.