Other than a naively romantic notion that being a foreign correspondent would be cool, I had no plans to be a writer. But when it came time to choose a university, typical teenager that I was, I went for the one furthest from home.
Journalism has served me well – or at least, kept me semi-employed for years while I dabbled in fiction, raised a family, and worked freelance.
And then, silly me, I retired. Chucked it all in, moved to the country, and daydreamed about writing the great Canadian novel while my husband and I refurbished our 1860’s farmhouse.
But the muse does nag. With impeccable timing. In the interim, self-publishing had become legitimate, and there I was with a couple of manuscripts in the drawer and a backlist of traditionally-published short stories, feature articles and mysteries for kids. I had “skin in the game.”
And one hell of a lot to learn.
Unfortunately, everything from social media and website design, to author branding and securing my publishing rights, kept me from what I really wanted to do! So I put it all to one side, delved into the “archives,” and came up with the first draft of a short mystery I’d written a few years back.
I’d called it Bitter End. A 3,000-word tale of revenge (my favourite motive) involving best friends and an errant husband with questionable…assets. My guy loved it. Buoyed by his support, I sent it to Mystery Weekly Magazine and they bought it.
It felt good.
Six months later, I published Revenge With A Twist, a collection of three mystery shorts which included Bitter End (the rights were now non-exclusive), Oscar Chump!, a brand-new short story with a fifties feel, and Bermuda Short, which had first appeared in Cold Blood IV, the long-running anthology published by Mosaic Press.
Since then, I’ve written new material, and spun old into gold — or at least, silver — as an independent author. My schedule is my own, and while I’m unlikely to hit the bigtime, I love the opportunity to pick-and-choose.
Next up is The Mysterious Mr. Moon, an earlier title of mine written for eight-to-12 year old readers and published by General Paperbacks. Billed as a “mystery with a comic twist,” the new edition will be released in early 2019.
Turns out writing really is a career for life!