Today is my turn on Death and the Good son blog tour by B.A. Steadman.

How I came to be a writer

Like many people, I just didn’t find time to write when I had a full-time job. I taught English up to A level. The prep and the marking were phenomenal, plus I had many other responsibilities as Deputy head to do with safeguarding and child protection. Life was full. The best I managed was the odd play or comic poem for an event.

Then I attended a ‘preparation for retirement’ seminar, and my life changed. The nice man said that if I was able to manage on a smaller pension, I could leave early, because teachers can do that. No point hanging about in a job you find stressful, he said. True, I said, and had a little cry.

So I handed in my notice and left in the summer. It’s the first job I have walked away from without a single regret, much as I loved the students and the staff. ‘You’re too young’, I heard, ‘what on earth will you do with your time?’ I already knew; I would write.

I took the following few months off as much-needed recovery time, and began my first novel, that eventually became Death and Deception, in January 2012. Straight in, no practice, no learning, just had a go. Well, it’s the best way to get words on the page. At least I didn’t have angst and performance anxiety – that all came later.

I wrote and re-wrote that MS, tried it out on friends, re-wrote more, and finally decided, in early 2014, to take the ‘ten-minutes with an agent’ option at Bristol Crimefest. I got good feedback, but no offers.  More re-writing was needed. Life was a bit bleak. Six standard rejections from agents followed.  They just weren’t taking on unknowns in the crime field. It was too risky for them. Bless. So I stuck in the drawer and wrote a YA thriller. I also joined a writing group and had a go at different genres, went on several courses, and to some festivals. All very enjoyable and I felt my confidence as a writer grow. It is a craft you really do have to practise.

Then, in 2015, just before hubby and I were about to fly off to Australia for six weeks, a new publisher, Bloodhound Books, put out an ad asking for crime submissions. Without getting too many hopes up I dusted it off and sent it along. I got the call the day before we were due to fly – send the rest, we like it. Heart pounding, I did. We were in Perth when I got the message – they would publish me! I had to somehow print, sign and copy the contract from twelve thousand miles away. It was odd celebrating without the usual gang at home, but we managed. Australian champagne is as good as any!

Since then I have had several short stories published in charity anthologies, and have completed my second novel in the DI Dan Hellier series. Life is good, and I’m really excited about Death and the Good Son coming out on the 9th December. Dreams really can come true; you just need to have a story you’d like to tell, and then you just have to tell it, one word at a time.

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