Available now: Tomorrow's Flight.
The tale of a writer — or at least this one...
Full disclosure, it goes on a bit!
In 2008 my life was upended, literally. I had to rethink every aspect of who I was, and what I had hoped and planned for. With three children now to raise on my own (with the help of close family), I quickly found out that everything I wanted was no longer important. Their needs now took precedence, it was all that mattered. Sure, I had some free time but going from running a business and car dealerships to being a full-time dad and homemaker took some time to adjust to.
Once a routine had been established I quickly found myself with some time on my hands. I believe this is the time most mums (especially those in California) use as their wine time… For me, I had a burning desire to get a novel down. It was a story I had carried in my head for years. I should preface this by saying I spent my youth watching sci-fi rather than in pool halls and pubs. Anyway, back to the main story. After around eight months, and using a laptop that was close to giving up on life, I had a first draft. I shopped it around and didn’t get a thing from the mainstream publishers and agents. Eventually, through sheer determination, I found a publisher (SHN) who agreed to take the project on. In the early days, Stephen, who it turned out owned the company proved to be immensely helpful — he really championed me and became a close ally.
Carried away by this moderate success, I quickly wrote three more titles. Two novellas and a novel, two of which became Amazon bestsellers. Then in 2013, just as I thought my life had finally found smooth waters I collapsed in pain at home. After various tests and images, they discovered that two of my discs had collapsed causing my vertebrae to compress onto my spinal cord. It was decided I needed surgery. After leaving hospital, I was still in considerable pain and could hardly walk. I had gone from regularly exercising to being disabled. To control the pain morphine was prescribed, and my lack of experience with addictive drugs (including alcohol & tobacco) hadn’t prepared me for what was to come. I lost 18 months of my life while I struggled with the pain and the ever-growing need to keep increasing the dosage along with the ever-increasing reliance on morphine just to function. Once I decided to kick it, the doctor told me it would take four months to come off it. I did it in two, but it was the single hardest thing I have ever done.
Back in the game, and evermore determined, I decided to have a professional editor take a look at my debut novel (Yesterday’s Flight), to help me get a literary agent, and so I sold my car to pay for a former editor of Stephen King. Once his notes came back I rewrote the book and began shopping it again. In 2014, I landed a New York literary agent and once again I felt my life was on the up. They worked with me on two of my novels and introduced me to someone who would become hugely important to me both professionally and personally — Steven Stiefel.
But yet again, life came a calling… I found some ‘oddities’ in my dealings with the agent and so I fired them. By then, Steven had edited my last novel which led me to land a publishing deal, and we were working on rewriting Yesterday’s Flight into the novel I always thought it could be, but I didn’t have the skill sets in the early days to pull off. Steven on the other hand was an established writer and editor, and I have learnt a lot from him over the years and the projects we’ve been working on together.
Since then we started a publishing imprint and production company, we’ve written a #1 international bestseller, that has had 1 million pages read in the KDP lending library. We’ve also written four award-winning screenplays and we’re currently working on another novel — the first in a planned trilogy, and a podcast. We’ve also attracted an award-winning and Emmy-nominated Hollywood-based producer to one of our projects (That’s on hold until the WGA strike is over).
Whilst all of this has been going on, I’ve taken a part-time job to keep the lights on and got my three children into adult life — two of them through university while the other started up and ran a successful business before moving on to better opportunities. There have been many personal battles too, some have taken a much larger toll on me than others — leaving their scars and legacy on me, and I still struggle with mobility — some days confining me to bed, and other health issues have come along too. The point is this, you just have to keep going. Keep working, keep practicing, keep learning, and keep believing!
In other words, whilst there are a lot of them out there, you can’t let the bastards get you down!
If you got this far, thank you.