Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Life is like a... by Cathy Ace

Life - What obstacles, if any, did you encounter on your road to becoming a writer? And how did you overcome them?

I see my life as being in several parts; being a writer is one part, but it’s not my “whole life”, so I’m happy to talk about it as part of my life. However, if I was asked what part of my life I couldn’t live without, it wouldn’t be writing – so I suppose I should make that clear. My family and friends make my life worth living – my writing is the chocolate-covered strawberry on the cake (I don’t like cherries!).

I was fortunate to not encounter problems in my early life – such as learning problems, family background or social issues – that meant I wasn’t able to acquire the basic fundamentals to allow me to consider becoming a writer; I learned to read and write at the appropriate points in my life, and was encouraged to do so by my family, and teachers. I also had access to wonderful local libraries, so was able to become an early and eager (OK, greedy!) reader. Not everyone has those advantages. I was lucky. 

I’ll also tell you I earned my living by writing from the age of twenty-two. I worked in advertising and public relations, so wrote every day, to deadlines, about topics I’d have to research for clients, and working to a brief. It was fabulous training for the fiction writing I do now. 

That said, whilst I do see differences between what I did then, and what I do now, the “becoming a writer” part of this week’s question is tough to answer, because I faced no obstacles at all – being a writer just means you write. It’s becoming a traditionally published author of crime fiction that’s the difficult bit!

To that question – again, I was very fortunate. I self-published a collection of twelve short stories, then a collection of four novellas and sent them off to a publisher, who asked me to send them a manuscript for a novel, which I did, and it was published. It all sounds simple. And – compared with what many face – it was. I was in the right place at the right time, approached the right publisher with the right writing, using the experience I’d built over forty-five years as a reader and twenty as a professional writer. That’s all it took!

Nope – none of this “being an author” thing is easy. What I faced won’t be what others have faced. And whatever our individual stories and journeys, here are some things I believe are true for all: you’ll be a better writer for being a better reader; you’ll only “find your voice” if you think about what you want to say, and practice saying it. The world of publishing is changing quickly. The paths of those authors whose work I admire might not exist now, or in a couple of years’ time. So be flexible, and keep reading, and writing. I did, and I am. That’s all we can do.

BLATANT SELF PROMOTION ALERT! A collection of four novellas, featuring Cait Morgan, the WISE Enquiries Agency and DI Evan Glover has JUST been published! Please check out more information and buy links CLICK HERE

I'd be honoured if you'd consider reading my work.


Dietrich Kalteis said...

Great post, Cathy. I agree about reading making you a better writer, and the need to find your voice.

Cathy Ace said...

Thanks Dieter -, read, read!! C :-)

Kathy Reel said...

Reading is so important for becoming a writer, and it's also important in becoming whatever one chooses. Reading leads to understanding the world and all that is therein. And, I am looking forward to reading Murder Knows No Season. It's not arriving from Amazon until Saturday, which is a bit slower than I'm used to. Guess Cyber Week is affecting shipment timing.