Being A ‘Real Writer’

So advance copies of Unspoken have been going out in the world and receiving blurbs. And here are a couple.

“Breath-taking, heart-breaking–a compulsive, rocketing read!”–Tamora Pierce.

Tamora Pierce. The lady who wrote the first fantasy I ever read (In the Hand of the Goddess), a tale of a girl passing as a boy so she can train as a knight, with duels and romance and magic cats. Ever after, I expected YA to be funny and feminist and full of adventures. I also expected more cross-dressing than I ended up getting, but Tamora Pierce meant I was onto Eowyn in the Lord of the Rings right off.

I was eight, I think? My mother bought it for me, thinking it was historical (eight year old Sarah was a big history buff and could not be parted from her favourite history book, The Homosexual Kings of England. Eight year old Sarah was a weirdo) and got bitterly reproached… until I actually read it. She also bought me my first LJ Smith book, and received the same treatment. My mama should be entitled to an I-told-you-so percentage of all my book sales.

My mama, to do her credit, did not say ‘I told you so’ when I launched a mission to get the first book, and all the other books. Which let me tell you in Ireland at the time was no small task. The day my mother came home with the full set of the Immortals series by Tamora Pierce, many years later, was a dazzling day for us both.

Tamora Pierce was one of those writers who changed the way I think, and one of those writers I read when I only had a very vague idea that people wrote books. I knew they did, I knew I wanted to, but books still seemed so much like magic, back then. A paper world, and the stages of creation unimaginable, and the creators faraway, wonderful and mystical. Real Authors! What would a Real Author even be like?

And there is more, folks.

“A darkly funny, deliciously thrilling Gothic. Unspoken kept me up late, turning the pages as fast as I could.”–Kelley Armstrong.

I was, I think, eighteen or nineteen when I was early to go to the cinema with my friends, and I popped into the shop next door which had newspapers and sweets and a few popular books on the popular books rack (thrillers and Nicholas Sparks, mostly) to pass the time. I found Kelley Armstrong’s Bitten there.

‘Werewolves?’ I thought to myself. ‘No! They never have COOL books on the popular book rack!’ I picked it up and flicked through it, and beheld Elena, the werewolf journalist.

… Readers, I was late to that movie. My friends bitterly reproached me, especially as they saw my book in its little paper bag and sussed out that I had been treacherously shopping.

They’re authors who let me know there were books like this, and that they could be for everyone. And they’re authors who–along with their books–seemed magical and faraway. And yet I wrote a book and they saw it, which is actually kind of scary to think about!

(Actually the fact that I have written books and anyone has seen them is a little scary to think about. Even though all my books are currently in a room with me right now, and I could pick them up and stroke them if I wanted. Or if stroking them is treating them as if they are beloved kitties and too weird, I could punch them.

… I am not going to punch my books.)

And they liked my book. Tamora Pierce liked my book.

I am still super nervous about Unspoken, and awaiting what you all, and hopefully other people who do not read my blog and currently have no idea who I am, think of it!

But oh my goodness this is wonderful. And makes me feel–not that I am a Real Author–but that Real Authors think that I am one? An okay one?

And that someone enormously regular, such as myself, the kid who didn’t know about ordering books but just kind of doggedly hung around bookshops hoping for Tamora Pierce books to materialise, the teenager who ran into the movie late with a Kelley Armstrong book, can have moments of feeling almost Real-Authory?

It is a gorgeous and amazing thing. It seems like magic, the same way books still do.


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