Writing Journeys – Graham Austin-King
Graham Austin-King is another inspiring person for anyone attempting the self-publishing game. Indeed, his presence has reached far enough that I found his name cropping up enough to be familiar with me long before I figured out he was an indie writer (this was a couple of years back). He’s recently completed an audio recording of his Riven Wyrde trilogy, attracting the talent of Johnny McPherson to voice. All in all, a successful man, and I hope you enjoy reading about his journey.
I never wanted to be a writer. Actually, that’s not true. I did want to be a writer but I never saw it as a viable option. Authors were like astronauts, footballers and film stars. Writing books was something that other people did. Special people.
I did, however, always enjoy stories, both writing and reading them. I discovered fantasy and science fiction quite early on. Dad had a worn and much-loved copy of Lord of the Rings and I tried reading it when I was far too young to really appreciate it. It set my feet upon the path, though, and the science fiction section of the local library saw an awful lot of me.
I got into roleplaying games in my early teens. It was a natural progression. By this time I’d been through C.S Lewis, Raymond E Feist, David Eddings, and every ‘Choose You Own Adventure’ book I could get my hands on.
I still recall leafing through a Dungeons and Dragons campaign a friend’s older brother had left lying around in their shared bedroom. The concept of actually directing the adventure appealed hugely and, once we did all start playing, I gravitated to the role of the ‘Dungeon Master’ as a way of running the story.
It’s a fairly short step from writing and running a D&D campaign, to writing a story. Many of the same skills are involved; from world-building, to plot. Sure you don’t have control of what your characters do, but then, I’ve found that a few times when writing too.
Despite this, I don’t think I actually sat down and tried to write anything with any serious effort until I was about 19. I think I managed about five or six chapters before I shelved it. It was a sort of horror/thriller in the vein of Dean Koontz. The concept wasn’t bad, though the writing probably was. Maybe one day I’ll revisit it.
Life intruded soon after this point, and I stopped even thinking about writing for the best part of twenty years.
I’ve just read that back and I’m stuck, staring at those words. For some reason I’ve never sat and worked that out before. It’s true though. There are many reasons for it. A marriage, fatherhood, my father’s death, and my divorce. But now I look back on it, these reasons sound more like excuses. I’m struggling hard not to think of the time wasted, and the stories left unexplored.
Stories and writing do not like to be contained. The writing leaked out in half a dozen different ways. I made up stories for my step-children before my divorce, and then again for my own children. Eventually, after the stories grew too complicated to remember fully, I began writing them down. Writing led to publishing.
I started writing again just a few years ago, not picture books for kids this time, but novels. I began my Riven Wyrde trilogy in 2013 and wrote more or less solidly until the entire thing was released. I’ve been self-published, published by a small press, and then self-published again. I’ve written a few blog posts on my publishing journey, and I think it’s important to make clear the distinction, publishing is not writing. Writing can be done for a whole host of different reasons. Publishing is done, barring vanity, almost exclusively for the purpose of making money.
My blog post on my misadventures in publishing covers most of the pitfalls I’ve fallen head-first into, but it think it’s probably fair to say that I’ve arrived where I am by a combination of impatience, stupidity, and luck.
For whatever reason my books have done reasonably well. I’ve now reached the point where I’m making a living from my writing, which is better than many self-published authors out there. And, if I’m honest, I couldn’t really give you a proper reason as to why.
As far as the writing goes, I have managed to pick up a few things along the way. I’ve developed a very good support group of writers and editors. Writing is a very solitary thing and it’s nice to have people to bounce ideas off and help each other along. My second book was superior to my first, and the third one better still. My new novel is, to my mind at least, better than anything I’ve written so far. So, I must be doing something right. It’s darker, more challenging, and more complex. Considering it began as a fun novella, I’ve either done something very right, or I’ve really cocked up.
Books for sale on amazon and can be ordered into any bookshop
Come back tomorrow to hear from C.L. Murray, author of A Facet for the Gem.
fantasy authors, graham austin-king, writing journeys