Many people know what they want to be from an early age. A good friend of mine was like that. She knew she wanted to be a primary school teacher and what college she wanted to attend. And you know what? She has done exactly what she said she would – she made it look so easy.
I am not one of those people.
When I was a young child I wanted to be a dancer, then I decided I was going to be a singer and started writing my own songs. The hours I spent writing down lyrics and recording myself on my tape player are too embarrassing to recall. I always loved reading (Ladybird books rock!), but I was also a huge fan of television, especially cartoons with a fantasy element. I used to draw a lot too, and then I liked numbers. You get the picture – I liked it all (well, apart from gymnastics… I get all shaky thinking about doing headstands).
It must have been at the age of around 12 that I started to write lots of stories for fun. I was a school librarian and spent a lot of time finding the best books. I have to admit an obsession with Nancy Drew books. I loved to write spooky or detective stories back then.
But, as it sometimes happens in school, I lost focus and became convinced I was no good. I concentrated on Science, and decided Marine Biology was for me. It was when I was about 17 that I realized it was never going to work since I get sea sick… so I looked for a sensible option, a vocation! The dreaded word! In my wisdom, I opted to study Law and Accountancy as a degree (I know – I can hear you yawning from here). It was really tough, but I stuck it out, convinced it would lead to my dream job.
So, roll on a few years, top job at Arthur Anderson secured to train as a Chartered Accountant and guess what? Yep, I HATED IT…
So, I moved to Holland with my boyfriend (now husband) got a temping job and applied to train as a Secondary School Maths Teacher. After I finished training, I got a job, worked for two years, and loved it, before I left on Maternity leave.
Now, roll on eight years…
I had three children, my youngest was a year old and I was so bored of being at home. Don’t get me wrong I know staying at home for my kids is a great thing to be able to do, but my sanity was hanging on the edge. There are only so many PTA meetings, and playgroups I could attend before I started to lose the will to live! (I did do a lot for schools in this time, but let’s skip over that now or I’ll be here for years and bore you senseless)
Anyway, there was me flicking channels when I catch the end of Twilight on TV. It was November 2009! So, I got hooked, read the novels over the next few months and then in February 2010 I watched the interview of Stephanie Meyer (on the first Twilight movie). She explained how she got the “Twilight” idea via a dream and because she was at home looking after her boys decided to put her thoughts to paper.
Well, here I was… bursting with ideas, desperate to use my imagination and there was someone saying I could. I had jotted down ideas on the computer over time, but I never saw them as anything other than dreams or silly notions. When I saw that interview a switch flicked in my brain. I had permission to write – I was not being silly if I wrote.
Lots of people wrote, why not me?
And so I started my first novel, a chick flick type thing. I bravely posted excerpts on Bookise and gave samples to a friend (Kay you are the best!) and to my shock and surprise she actually liked it! So, I shared with another friend (Kathyrn – another star) and she also liked it.
I had a lot to learn though… it took another year before I joined The Word Cloud and learned about critique, prose, and the right things to do!
By 2011, I started work on HYBRID. It morphed a lot over time as I changed the plot, added to it, expanded ideas, and completed the novel. I did try a few agents and after getting what I call some “positive rejections” I decided I had nothing to lose. David Gaughan had been posting on the Cloud and I was riveted by the idea of doing it all myself.
It was in January 2012 that I started to look into self-publishing through Smashwords. I read Mark Coker’s book, followed his instructions and published HYBRID on Smashwords in March 2012. This was when my journey began in earnest.
I had not even considered Amazon, but a lot of people I knew had kindles, so I ventured into Amazon on May 2012. To be honest I learned so much going through Smashwords first and I got some great critique. However, personally, I find selling on Smashwords to be really hard.
So, after being on Smashwords a year I finally decided to leave. I might go back to it in September, we’ll see (by the way all of my books and stories got premium status and got featured in B&N, Apple, Kobo, etc – but the sales were non-existent).
So, here we are… after over three years I have just completed the final book in the Trilogy (it is now in the editing stage, which will take a few months).
I now blog, am active on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, have been interviewed several times now and done a few blog tours, and I am about to start selling books via an indie bookseller… it’s all happening (maybe?)
I also publish collections of stories for adults and children to raise money for charity (I’ll talk about this on another post) and have become an indie “publisher.”
But, the roots were always there! If you have a love of books, a vivid imagination, and are willing to work hard then anything is possible. Like my swimming coach always told me “no pain, no gain!”
The Evolution Trilogy is the story of first love, a change in circumstances, family loyalty and having to adapt to survive – in fact, in a way, it’s an analogy for my life… in a fantasy setting – and NO, I promise, I have never killed anyone. I blame Buffy the Vampire Slayer for making me think that death was a crucial part to any story! HA!
Thanks for reading,
Vanessa Wester J
HYBRID: Book One of the Evolution Series (Volume 1)
COMPLICATIONS: The Evolution Trilogy (Volume 2)
and First Date among other titles.
You can purchase all of Vanessa Wester’s books on Amazon.
Many thanks to Indie Author, Vanessa Wester for sharing her journey with us on Indie It Press as an Indie Guest Writer/Artist.