Sorcery and Stardust, writing

Fanning a Spark


About three years ago now, my friend Glen and I were talking shop. Sitting at school pick-up, waiting for our boys to exit the classroom, going all out to nerd town. Specifically, the stereotypical perception of the sci-fi and fantasy genres in today’s society. Film, books, you name it; we were on a roll. How X was viewed by the public way back when, how it was viewed now after the movie or book or TV show had stepped in to change things. How I was teased in high school for having interests in things that are now on the t-shirt of every Tom, Julie and Alexandretta that walks by in the shops.

It has long been a dream of mine to normalise the genres I adore. To prove that good writing is good writing no matter the subject matter. I don’t care if a unicorn walks into a pie shop in a beret to purchase a ticket to the fifteenth moon of Gargalax – if it’s written well, it should be enjoyable.

Glen agreed. He works in film, I in writing; two worlds that are similar in as many ways as they are different. We began to banter back and forth fun, often silly ideas for films or books to right the wrongs of genre fiction (or perpetuate it, depending on how you want to look at things).

The conversation continued via message after we collected our children and parted ways. He began to challenge me with catchy titles and I, being the person I am, responded admirably (if I do say so myself). Mostly ridiculous suggestions, things that would never really see the light of day but which nonetheless had us in uproarious laughter and trying to one-up each other for the better part of an hour. Then I came out with this one:

Sorcery and Stardust.

That message, when I penned it, didn’t evoke the fits of laughter the previous ones had. In fact, as I stared at the title I’d pulled from the endless ether of my imagination, something flickered in my brain. Before I knew it, an idea began to take shape. I grabbed my iPad, cracked my knuckles (yeah, I know, bad Sammy) and began to pour my thoughts onto the page. Sketchy character ideas, half formed plot points in no particular order, a bunch of random thoughts and images.

I sent the file to Glen. He adored it.

And that, as they say, was it. I was in the middle of a hiatus from my writing career, necessitated by the births of my children, and had no intention of breaking it at that point. But Sorcery and Stardust marched into my brain, shelved the project I’d been playing with up to this point, threw it’s collective weight on the ground and tantrummed until I gave in and began. It bought me out of my self imposed hermitage and thrust me, kicking and confused and ill-prepared, back into my author shoes. (Which, after two kids and several years off, were uncomfortable to say the least.)

Three years and many white hairs later, here we are. One billion and one drafts later (possibly the actual figure), I’m only a few weeks out from the release of the book. It’s been a monumental undertaking which has taught me things not only about writing, editing and arting, but also about myself as a person.

The publishing industry is changing, you see. No longer is the author able to pen a little ditty, send it off to a publisher, and hide in the corner and hiss at people while said publisher does the rest. With the invention of the internet, we are expected to be brands. We are expected – traditionally published or otherwise – to build an audience, shape a readership, sell ourselves above and beyond our writing. You’re not buying a book anymore, you’re buying a person. After many internal monologues, a hefty amount of research and probably tears of blood, I made the decision to build myself and my books and my brand alone.

Not a common choice, not a simple or traditional choice – but, I think, a choice best suited to myself and my personality. If you’d asked me that day, outside the classroom, if I had not only the guts to write this book but also edit it, design the cover, produce the finished product, publish it, market it, sell not only the story but myself, I’d have said no. NO. Very much all the no. And yet… here we are, with an idea come to screaming, sassy life and a woman teeth-grittingly determined to prove she’s got what it takes to make this the first book of many in a long, prolific writing career.

Sorcery and Stardust is due for release on the 22nd of June, 2019. There will be more on the book itself to come in the next few weeks, but for now suffice it to say that if you like reading, and you like to laugh, and enjoy the odd fight scene and maybe even a space deer, then hang around. I’ve got something right up your alley. And if those things don’t immediately appeal, hang around anyway; you might get a pleasant surprise.

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