I’ve spent most of my life looking for something. I wrote Worlds Without End as a novel designed to put all my ghosts firmly in the past and keep them there. It worked, but there were consequences. The search intensified, but I was able to identify with greater clarity what it was that I was searching for … Gnosis, or self-knowledge!
I consider the following three selfs to be my prize: to be able to live my life in a way that’s self-contained, self-sufficient and self-knowing, thus never being a burden to any and hopefully a help to all. Once I manage to master these three principles, I can be all that I’m meant to be and thereby fulfil my purpose, which is to serve humanity as the Universe intends. I’m obviously a work in progress, as are we all, and my books, being a part of me, will leave a trail that attests to this in my wake. I hope the trail is entertaining and that my books will be enjoyed by all who walk the same kind of journey, albeit by many different pathways.
It’s taken me a long time to learn that if I want a career as a writer, then I have to make it happen myself. There are no magic wands, wizards or fairies to make it happen for me. In this landscape, which, for the purpose of this scene, is my life, I’m the wizard! I know enough about my Merlin, the character I’m about to spill headlong onto a page, whether on a Kindle or in a paperback book, to know that it’s not his magic that will show me the route my journey will take, it’s my own. I already have the map to see me clearly through the obstacles I’ll find along the way, and I can indeed wield my own magic wand to light me down the pathway to success. I am, however, experiencing a strange sense of déjà-vu, as the last sentence looks suspiciously like one that came out of the mouth of one of my characters near the end of Worlds Without End. It’s a shame I didn’t see my own journey as clearly as Elysia‘s at the time I wrote it, for had I done so hers would have seen the light of day very much sooner!
So, I’m a Medieval Archaeologist and Historian who writes novels. When I discuss what in particular I like to study, most people glaze over long before I get to specifics, so I don’t usually get a chance to continue. And they never get to hear that, in spite of my hard won credentials and continued research, since I collapsed of exhaustion while working as a Medieval Archaeologist at Prague Castle, I haven’t actually been working in the field for almost two decades now. I’ve taught courses in Anglo-Saxon Studies for Cambridge University’s Madingley College since then, but I don’t do that now either, as the condition that developed from the collapse eventually put paid to that as well. Archaeology’s loss is hopefully the reading public’s gain, since I now have the time to devote to providing them with books written about it instead of doing it.
I have a string of unfinished novels littering up my filing trays! I used to imagine that the phenomenon of being published was something that would magically come and find me: a clamouring agent wringing from me my soul’s most beautiful music; I’m affecting an attitude of feigned surprise and benign acceptance, as the book into which I’ve poured three years of determined grit and sacrifice is getting the fairy godmother treatment and instantly transforming itself into fame, riches and happy-ever-after.
Needless to say, this certainly did NOT happen when, on my 40th birthday, I completed my book Worlds Without End. I classified it as a novel, a work of fiction, but the only bit that is fiction is my heroine’s trip to the last night of the Broadstairs Folk Show at the end of chapter five: as the torchlight procession winds up at the cliff-top Esplanade in front of Morellis Ice Cream Parlour, the very pagan dragon cavorting in and out of a tangle of Morris Men, gets well and truly baptised by a water-filled prophylactic which bursts over its head, and Eartha belts out Amazing Grace into the ensuing silence!
The salient point here is that there is no easy ride for published authors these days, if there ever was. We now have to work as hard to market and promote our work as we do to produce it! A brain that produces fine literature is unlikely to be as good at these things without first traversing a very steep learning curve. My trajectory is still stuck in the foothills, but I am at least aware that I need one now, hence the existence of this website and an attitude of WOOT, a term which I promise to explain in a new blog post! That’s a pretty good start … so, stay tuned and please subscribe to my blog! There’s the Subscribe! box on the right 🙂