Monday, July 4, 2011

About an author. Kinda.

I don't feel like an author.

I'm not a novelist, which I always thought was the ultimate requirement to be regarded as a 'real' writer.

Oh I've tried.

Every short story I've ever written has been published, which is something I'm proud of. Especially as there have been quite a few. The problem is that inspiration doesn't strike regularly enough for me to take it up as a day job, though it's a fun, paying hobby to have.

Once, whilst working on a magazine as a commissioning editor (overseas), one of my job requirements was to write the 'reader's secret confessions' whenever the real ones weren't interesting enough. Which was quite often. More fiction.

And I've started several novels, which I've never felt brave enough to show anyone. Or to finish.

So I don't feel like an author.

Yes, it's true that many years ago, on commission, I wrote a guidebook to Queensland, which was basically crap. (The fact that I was given three days in which to write it, certainly didn't help.)

And then my lovely agent Selwa Anthony got me a deal for my first real book, Happily Ever Parted (Surviving Separation and Divorce), which was published by New Holland Australia in 1996.

I had three months to write that one, though I managed to extend that to five.

Most of it was written in the middle of the night, after a day of work and kid-wrangling. I'd go to sleep when I was tired, wake when my youngest needed a feed, and write until about 5 am. Then I'd fall into bed for about half an hour before one of the kids woke me.

It's no surprise that by the time the proofs came through, I came down with a massive dose of pneumonia. I seriously blame the lack of sleep, along with relentless parenting, working and writing. I was exhausted!

My then-husband was working out of town, as he often was, and I was so sick I'd sleep between school and childcare drop-off.

Eventually, my ageing parents travelled five hours to help me, and I spent each day in bed, proofs on my lap, editing and sleeping. In-between occasional cups of tea and soup.

Finally, proofs done, I slowly recovered. Just in time for the book's launch and the endless round of publicity, when laryngitis and a tickly cough made radio and television interviews that extra bit embarrassing.

I'm not particularly proud of my first real book.

I'd longed to write it for a very long time, but I wanted it to be perfect. But my editor - who was very good and very experienced - eventually said: "Bronnie it's fine. You've got to stop somewhere, or it will never make it onto the shelves."

And she was right.

The book did moderately well for a first attempt. And importantly, it finally gave me the title 'author' which I was really quite chuffed about.

However, because I've failed to follow up with another book - though I am working on several, fiction and non-fiction - I regularly forget all about it.

And then I'll get an email from a reader whose life I have touched, a request for an interview, or stumble across a copy of Happily Ever Parted, alive and well on book shelves and not in the bargain basement bin. And I experience that strange mixture of embarassment and pride that comes with being an author. For me at least!

A couple of months ago, I was thrilled to be asked by the Brisbane City Council to speak at the Sunnybank Hills Library about Happily Ever Parted.

Thrilled, and a little bit nervous, but happy all the same. That years after my book came out, people are still reading it and wanting to talk to me about it.

I am soooo sympathetic to anyone going through a divorce. My first, and that was amicable, was traumatic enough; and many followers will know I am going through a second. The sudden end of this second marriage broke my heart, kicked me in the guts, and sent me into a mental health hospital, suffering from a major depressive disorder. (Read Nervous Breakdown).

For those who are interested, I'm pretty much following the advice I give in the book, but even as a so-called expert, divorce still sucks. Big Time!

So I'll be happy to rock up at Sunnybank Hills Library at 10 am on July the 7 to talk about my book, writing, and any other darn thing you'd like to hear about.

The library is kindly putting on morning tea after the chat, but you must RSVP for catering on 07 3407 0571.

Please come along, so I don't feel like a complete loser if no one turns up!

And if you need a shoulder to cry on, I'll bring along the tissues!


Mrs M said...

You sound like you've done alright.

You should give yourself the credit you deserve.

Harper Lee is an author. Only wrote one book.

Love & stuff
Mrs M

Karen Brooks said...

Your book is fantastic, Bronnie, and so are you! Wish I could be there to hear you speak. Envy the lucky buggers who will. You're a magic writer and the next book will come. You're going through so much, sweetie - but when you're on the other side, it will be time to write. I can't wait xxxxx

Cathy said...

I think most blog writers secretly wish they were real, genuine "authors". Sounds like you're the real deal! Best of luck for whatever follows.

diney said...

You are a real writer - keep repeating to yourself! Well done for all you have had published. I've had one e book published and various articles, and I now refer to myself as a writer so you must too or I'll feel really bad!!!

Nikki @ Styling You said...

You go girl. You are an author - don't believe anything else!

Ms_MotorbikeNut said...

Sweetie I've read your book last year when I first stumbled upon you on twitter.

You are a writer/author and a dam fine good one don't let anyone else tell you ohterwise or they will have me to deal with.

I've booked my place at the library so can't wait till Thursday you will rock girl.

(((( Hugs )))) XXXX Kisses XXXX

Shelly - Tropical Mum said...

Oh my. You have published so much and you can definitely wear the badge of 'author' with pride.

It is on my bucket list just to get one thing published official-like, where they pay me or it has to go through some sort of vetting process.

I aim low, but I've got to start somewhere!

I wish I could attend your library appearance to cheer you on, but it's a little far from Cairns ;-)

Mrs Woog said...

WOW! That is so great. I have had 2 children's books published (of all things) which I got paid Jack Shit for. Which was fair enough as they were bad.
Wish I could watch you speak. Good luck darls xxxx

Lisa - Epstein News said...

You did the hard yards on that first book so please be proud of it.
As for the major depressive disorder, I just want to hug you. If you can survive that, you can survive absolutely anything. My heart aches for you.
However, it seems to me that you are resilient and an author. What a combination.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Bronnie you should certainly be proud of what you've achieved and I know many a writer would should shoot you an envious stare at having every short story you've written published! :D

Fox in the City said...

Wow, I don't think you realize how impressive having a book published, along with every short story you have ever written, is! Colour me really impressed.

Divorce sucks. It is traumatic, soul destroying and humilating . . . even if it is initiated by you. Take care and enjoy your day at the library.

Thea said...

Well if your name is on a book, you're definitely an author to me!! That's so cool. I can't imagine what it must feel like.

katrinamayb said...

good luck'll be great!

Anonymous said...

You're definitely an author and that's just so brilliant. I hope the talk went really well for you xx

EmmaK said...

Sounds like you are going great guns. I will be sure to check out your book too.

Unknown said...

Oh you guys. This came up on my feed today, and your commends really touched me. Thank you so much for your ongoing support and faith in me. And guess what ... That fiction book is on the way, and it's not the one I thought it would be!