A year ago today, I was in excited anticipation of the publication of Dust and Glitter. I had been published several times before but this was the first time the collection would be entirely mine. My words alone, cover to cover (and what a beautiful cover it was).
When Clarendon House Publications first offered me the chance to publish the collection, I knew I had an uphill battle to face. My back available back catalogue was small and, even if I included previously published works, I’d come nowhere near the number of words I would need for a collection. There was also the issue that half of the stories I had were written since the beginning of 2018 and the other half ten years before when I was at university. My voice couldn’t have been more different. The stories from my university days were written by a young woman, heavily influenced by fantasy and watching the world through a pair of rose tinted glasses. The stories I had written since 2018 were by a woman, a mother, and someone who had experienced things I never would have anticipated in my days studying in Cambridge and Colchester with my dear old study buddy Laurie. There was no connection but they gave me an idea.
I decided early on that I wanted Dust and Glitter to track a path from birth to death, with stories of many genres telling paving the way. There wouldn’t be any central characters, the stories wouldn’t connect through a theme or a place, they would just be snapshots of life being lived wherever the characters found themselves.
I already knew several stories from previous publications that I couldn’t leave out of the collection. The Mystery of Lydford Gorge and The Long Road were two stories I had previously published with Clarendon House and they are by far my favourites from my back catalogue. Even with these, my university stories and several others, I still had a lot of work to do.
Luckily, along the way, I got to meet some brilliant characters who decided to visit my imagination. Arti – the story of a boy who has an accident and discovers a sinister secret about himself- was one of those magical stories that seemed to write itself in one sitting. FLTR- a dystopian look at augmented reality – came to me during a game of Pokemon Go with my brother, whilst Every Damned Second came to me on a day when my bones were not cooperating with me.
Another magical story that came from nowhere was Three Hundred Feathers – where anyone responsible for taking a life is permanently scarred by nature- to this day I have no idea what inspired it but it is one of the best things I have ever written.
Once I had all my stories together, there was still a disconnect, it needed something to tie them together. Enter the Demon – literally. One of my previous stories for Clarendon House Publications’ Literary Anthology, Vortex, was called Hey Demon, I’ll Make You a Deal and featured a women in conversation with her inner voice. Four stories later and Little Voice and Demon became by narrators through time, pulling together the last threads of Dust and Glitter.
If someone had said to me in November 2017, when I picked up my pen in the last ditch attempt at ‘becoming an author’, that in May 2020 (and in lock down) I would be looking forward to my book’s first birthday, I wouldn’t have believed you. I genuinely thought I would fall at the first hurdle but I didn’t and wow! Just wow!
I’ll forever be grateful to Grant Hudson and Clarendon House Publications for the support, advice and love I have received and still receive to this day. I truly could not have asked for a better publisher for this book. My gratitude also goes to everyone who has supported me- you know who you are- I truly couldn’t have done it without you.
There is one other person I have to thank, someone who has always been shadowed since I started this ‘author’ thing and that is Nova. Who is Nova you ask? Well, Nova (I’m not giving the full name away) is my fan fiction alter-ego and without her, the stories she wrote on so many fan sites, and the lessons she learned, Elizabeth Montague would never have been born.
So what’s next? Well, there’s Soulless, my novel which is coming on a pace and a collection featuring DCI Devlin Scott and Amanda Brent from The Mystery of Lydford Gorge to name but two projects.
Words will always feature in my life but Dust and Glitter will always be special to me and I’m happy that I had the opportunity to write it.
If you’re curious, you can find links to the book via Clarendon House Publications. I’d be so happy to hear your thoughts once you’ve read it too.
Stay tuned for more birthday celebrations tomorrow.