Monday, 2 April 2018

GUEST BLOG: Writing is Who You Are - Steve McHugh

I’ve wanted to be an author since I was about 13 and I read David Gemmell, Terry Pratchett, and Stephen King for the first time, but I didn’t really know exactly how to go about becoming an author and life usually got in the way, so it was always just that dream that was just out of reach.

When I was 25, my first child was born. Her name is Keira and she’s now 13, a thought that is frankly terrifying for me for several reasons. At 38 I’m the parent of a teenager, and there’s very little that makes me feel older, but I digress.
It was a very exhausting time for her mum and me, but it was also the spur I needed to want to become an author. I didn’t want to be that person who said, “one day” and never actually did anything about it. So I started writing, taking it seriously, and practicing wherever I got the chance.

I joined an online writing group that was part of Kelley Armstrong’s website, and over the next few years I honed my craft and wrote a book. It wasn’t good. At all. Oh at the time, I’m sure it was probably the finest piece of writing the world had seen, but there’s a reason it remains on a USB drive somewhere. So, with that failed attempt at being any good, I started again.

It took me 7 years to write a book I was proud of, and get it published. 7 years of working, of seeing what I wanted to attain and not letting anything stop me. I self-published my first book, Crimes Against Magic, and I will always remember having sold 28 copies on opening day. 28. I was thrilled. That entire
first month of April 2012, I sold 72 copies. I will always remember those two figures.

I got a good professional cover, got it professionally edited, and it had paid off. Not monetarily, but in terms of just being able to know that people had bought my book and had left a good review, or had messaged me to tell me they loved it. It was exhilarating. And then the sales increased, and kept increasing, and to this day I think it was part work from me, and part incredible luck. By that December, I launched book 2, Born of Hatred, and had sold thousands of books.
The following year, my current publisher contacted me and asked if I’d like to work with them to republish the first 2 books, and the rest of the Hellequin Chronicles series. I said yes.

Things got blurry from that point on. I’ve now published 8 books and 1 novella in 6 years, and by the end of 2018 it will be 10 books. And every single time I get an email or a message from a fan, it’s still exhilarating. It’s a beautiful thing to have people love the frankly bizarre stuff that happens in my head, and there’s nothing else quite like it.

And all of this started because I wanted to be the person who said, “I did that,” and not, “I will do that.” I became a bestselling author because I worked like mad and put in the hours, and days, and months, to get better and better at something I’m passionate about. Becoming an author is the best thing I’ve ever achieved professionally.

So, if you have a notion to be an author don’t put it off. Doing it might well be the best thing you ever did.

(Steve's Hellequin series is already out and available on Amazon.co.uk  His brand new series "The Avalon Chronicles" is on the following release dates:
The Avalon Chronicles 1:  Glimmer of Hope: 1st April 2018
The Avalon Chronicles 2:  A Flicker of Steel: 3rd July 2018
The Avalon Chronicles 3:  A Thunder of War: 23rd October 2018)

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